Do we require greatness of great people? Or can greatness come through a neighbor buying bottles of water or offering his home to shelter strangers? Can greatness come from First Responders arriving on the scene of unimaginable devastation; then thinking first of people who needed their help. We don’t think about what might be out there, one policeman said later. We just turn on the lights and breathe after it’s all over.
When one thinks about all that goes in to responding to a mass casualty event like last week’s Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, there is so much that can go wrong. But this time things went right and that was due to greatness. The greatness of people. The greatness of the people of Philadelphia. It brought tears to my eyes knowing that so many good things happened at that dark and lonely place where the Train 188 left its rails. A policeman, first on the scene, calls in … this is really bad; send me everything you’ve got. In minutes there were hundreds of police, firefighters. Organized chaos, they called it, at the crash scene and at the hospitals receiving the injured.
Reminding one that this is a different century, even in Philadelphia, we see women on scene, doing themselves proud.