Praise for a fallen hero – Arnaud Beltrame

A picture taken in 2013 in Avranches and obtained from La Gazette de la Manche local newspaper on March 24, 2018 shows French Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame who was killed after swapping himself for a hostage in a rampage and siege in the town of Trebes, southwestern France, on March 23.
Beltrame, 45, was among a group of officers who rushed to the scene in Trebes, near Carcassone, on March 23 after a gunman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group, stormed a supermarket and fired at shoppers. Beltrame offered to take the place of a woman the gunman had taken hostage and was shot. He died on March 24 of his wounds, becoming the gunman’s fourth victim. / AFP PHOTO / LA GAZETTE DE LA MANCHE / –

Sometimes, we have to stop for a moment and pay the proper respect for a good man.  From the title of this post, you already know the name of such a man. Better, you already know that we’re talking about a hero.

“Hero” is often an abused word, improperly used for people who are good at sports or other amenities. It’s time to use it for real. Beltrame was a hero, fallen on the line of duty, an example of what could be a man in dire circumstances. You can find an excellent recap of what happened here, courtesy of BBC News. But the story is not complete if you don’t take a bit of your time to think about what pushed this man to put his own life at stake.

It’s not about being an officer or such. It’s something that a few men have, a compulsion to go in the direction of the danger and not to move away from it. It’s a surge from the deepest part of the soul, a light that shines so bright that could not be blocked. Beltrame was a veteran; he knew that his chances to come out of such a situation unscathed was minimal. He went on, trading his life for another.

Today, NATO countries are flying their flags at half-mast. For one of us.

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