On Tuesday we looked at what it is that makes a person a hero. We looked at some of the heroes of 9/11, Father Judge, Todd Beamer, the men and woman of the New York City Fire Department, and the NYPD. We talked about how heroes inspire us to be selfless through their selflessness, and how we see a lack of true heroes these days.
But I would suggest that we do have heroes these days. Sometimes we just need to look a little harder. I want to talk about a man who is now personal hero of mine. A man who, until this past week, I had never heard of.
|U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens|
Everyone remembers the so called “Arab Spring” that has swept through the Middle East, the supposed student movement to overthrow oppressive government regimes and enact democracy throughout their countries. Of course, we are also aware of the darker side of this movement, and how it has been taken advantage of by Islamic extremists and terrorists. The United States even got involved, lending our military might to the freedom fighters in Libya, helping them overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
And then we sent diplomats, ambassadors, to help in establishing a new, free Libya. Specifically, we sent Christopher Stevens.
Mr. Stevens had worked for the United States Foreign Service since 1991, serving in various capacities in Israel, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Libya. By all accounts, he served his country well, and was highly respected by his colleagues.
We still don’t know exactly what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Rioters, reportedly incensed over a Jewish-American documentary that negatively portrayed the Islamic prophet Mohammed, stormed several U.S. embassies around the Middle East, including the one in Benghazi. Generally, stones and Molotov cocktails are the weapons of choice, but in this case, some of the rioters were heavily armed with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades. They fired on the U.S. embassy compound, scaled the walls, and tore up the American flag.
The story continues to solidify as more details emerge. Reports seem to indicate that Christopher Stevens died of smoke inhalation after the building he was in was hit by an RPG and caught fire. Supposedly he was dragged out by friendly Libyans, and a Dr. tried to resuscitate him, to no avail.
It may be awhile before we know everything that happened. But we do know this: Christopher Stevens was not at the Embassy at the time the attack started. As best we can tell, he returned to the compound to make sure the rest of the staff got out safely.
I don’t know a lot about Christopher Stevens. I don’t know his family or friends, his religious beliefs, if he was a nice guy or not. I don’t know if I would have liked him if we had known each other. But I know enough. I know Christopher Stevens was the kind of man who put the safety of those under him ahead of his own. I know he was the kind of man who ran towards a fire, not away. I know he died in service to his country, and to those he felt a responsibility to protect.
John 15:13 tells us that there is no greater love than to give your life for your friends. The Bible also tells us that we can speak like an angel, but if we do not have love, it is meaningless.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that we need more men like Christopher Stevens. I couldn’t agree more.
He is my hero.
He is my hero.