Two things are certain: Death and Taxes. Taxes are completely within our control and we are grateful that the Arizona State Legislature is working to amend this burden by proposing a 4% flat tax in SB1346. Death; with very few exceptions, is not within the legislature's jurisdiction and we must therefore plead our cause before a higher authority; or at least we so believe. Historically; only Enoch and Elijah were able to escape death entirely.
This brings us to the conclusion that life itself has value. This is a very easy conclusion to reach but it then begs the question: How do we measure life's value? Are we acting responsibly when we assign a value? Are we callous when we treat human life itself as a commodity to be traded and/or wagered?
History reflects that the wager or risk of loss of life has been a playing card in every war. Leaders of nations have been bound to evaluate the likely costs, the likely risks, and the likely gains or losses in betting soldiers' lives on the reasonably foreseeable outcomes of each conflict. As is often the case; the leaders are not the ones who actually make the decisions. They are frequently made by brave soldiers who understand that they are putting their own lives at risk. Often that risk implies an almost certain death; the ultimate sacrifice that can be made, which again begs the question; what is the fair market value of that life? Is it more or less than the holdings of the wealthiest person in the world?
Arlington Cemetery and Normandy Cemetery are honored by the internment of many thousands of American soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. As for Normandy; every soldier who participated in the invasion was patently aware that his life was on the line. The first who hit the beach knew very well that the odds of their surviving even a few short minutes were astronomically slim; yet they chose to offer their lives in trade for a commodity that they knew and believed to be far beyond the worths of their existences. They knew that if they did not sacrifice their own lives that the war may be lost and the tyrannical rule of the Nazis would have been the ultimate conclusion. They each sacrificed their lives; not for themselves, but for others.
There is no specific mold for heroes. They come in all shapes and sizes. The only common factor is that they perceive the welfare of others to be superior to their own security. New members of the "Hero Club" are referred to as the "Futomaki Fifty." These are people who know very well that their lives and their futures are almost certain to involve great agony and certain death. No matter how many precautions they take, they know that scientifically they are being exposed to more radiation in one hour than all other nuclear reactor employees are exposed to in their entire careers. They have elected to risk their lives and to invite death because they know that if no-one accepts the responsibility, many of their countrymen and women are likely to suffer similar or even worse circumstances similar to those who lived near Chernobyl. They are, in no uncertain terms, sacrificing their lives for the benefits of others.
On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked and it was answered by the Firefighters and Police Officers of New York City. They accepted the risks without question. They knew that there was significant danger in being in the twin towers but they all chose to risk their lives for the sake of saving others. When the first tower fell they knew that the second would fall as well, but not one chose to leave. They knew that they were going to die but they chose to give their lives for others. Every person who got out of the towers owes his or her life to those men in uniform.
What is life worth? You can be Donald Trump but when your time is up you can't take it with you. The value of your life has absolutely nothing to do with what you have. The value of your life is measured by what others have only because you chose to make a sacrifice. The most valuable lives today and throughout history are those people who have given of themselves for others. The most valuable lives belong to soldiers, police officers, firemen and firewomen, and the Futomaki Fifty. We must forever be grateful for these sacrifices because if these brave individuals had not chosen to make such incredible sacrifices; we may have nothing.
Please say a prayer for the Futomaki Fifty, for every soldier; American and otherwise, who fights to protect our freedoms, for every law enforcement officer and fireperson, and for countless others who are making sacrifices that you may never be aware of.