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A Magnificent Life

Posted 7/3/2015

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  Today is July 3rd, but in the odd calendar of holidays, it is the official July 4th holiday. At BIDMC, this means that ambulatory areas are closed, but of course the hospital is open, and minimal coverage must be provided by those services that aren't ordinarily there during non-regular work hours. My group takes turns covering days like this, and I am always very proud and pleased that we work it out without rancor. I last took a turn for Presidents' Day, and that seemed a lot more attractive than a summer rotation. I am grateful to my colleague, Frank, who is there today while the rest of us enjoy this extra day off and glorious weather.

  I have not been at all sure what to write about today, feeling that the holiday requires something special, but seeing no obvious links between cancer the July 4th. I have decided to share this incredible obituary from the New York Times about Nicholas Winton who just died at 106. No, this has nothing to do with cancer either, but as an example of  a truly extraordinary man, a hero, it is more than special enough. Please take a few minutes to read it and to ponder what he did. And to say thank you.

Nicholas Winton, a Briton who said nothing for a half-century about his role in organizing the escape of 669 mostly Jewish children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II, a righteous deed like those of Oskar Schindler and Raoul Wallenberg, died on Wednesday in Maidenhead, England. He was 106.

The Rotary Club of Maidenhead, of which Mr. Winton was a former president, announced his death on its website. He lived in Maidenhead, west of London.

It was only after Mr. Winton’s wife found a scrapbook in the attic of their home in 1988 — a dusty record of names, pictures and documents detailing a story of redemption from the Holocaust — that he spoke of his all-but-forgotten work in the deliverance of children who, like the parents who gave them up to save their lives, were destined for Nazi concentration camps and extermination.


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