This is way off my normal topic but it is such an astounding story I have to pass it on.
I've been listening to the morning story on BBC Radio 4, which this week has been a book called
The Cruellest Miles. This is about the repurcussions of an outbreak of Diptheria in the town of Nome in Alaska in 1925. The epidemic hit just after the last steamer before the winter had left, without leaving the necessary anti-toxins for the local doctor. The only way to get more was by dog-sled from the nearest rail head 700 miles to the south.
A relay of sled teams was set up, taking the drivers and their teams through truly appalling weather. The very first team set off and travelled for 12 hours without stopping, through temperatures reaching 60 below freezing, even before the wind chill factor was added. Each stage in the relay faced the same dreadful conditions.
It led me to think about the nature of heroism - because all these men were truly heroes of the first order - as distinct from bravery. These men were already brave - their job was to deliver mail to the various small mining communities across the region. I feel somehow that their actions transcended 'mere' bravery. They didn't act on impulse or in the heat of the moment. They sustained their action over a long time and in conditions which most of us cannot even imagine.
I can't express why I feel the actions of these few men were so exceptional or why I was so moved by their story. I can only suggest you read it.