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I'm watching The West Wing and there is a scene in Season 4, Episode 2 where the President is telling how some people, on hearing an explosion (caused by two pipe bombs), ran into a fire to try and save others. Three of the people who did were killed in the story, and he summarizes their heroic effort, by saying, "The streets of Heaven are too crowded with Angels tonight."
Aaron Sorkin does some great writing. It's a great statement and a fitting tribute, had it been used, in an actual context.
I am reminded of Robert A. Heinlein's story of how a tramp tried to help a woman and her husband when they crossed a railroad track and her foot got caught in the frog of a switch. The tramp continued to try to pull her foot out even when the train was coming.
The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed -- and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself.
The husband's behavior was heroic... but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.
This is how a man dies. This is how a man...lives!
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