While I was in training in NJ, I was reading the second Hunger Games book.
I was contemplating the change in the motivations of the main character from book one to book two. In book one Katniss, the main character, was motivated to survive because she was the only one who could provide for her family. In the second book, she is motivated to save Peeta, who risked his life to save her in the first book.
While I understood her motivations, Peeta was more noble than Katniss in book one. This switch around in the second and Katniss is motivated for the same reason Peeta is motivated.
All this got me thinking. Why do people behave this way? What makes people disregard their own well-being, at the cost of their own lives, to save others? I understood Katniss’ motivations, but what moved Peeta? Was it only love? And even if it was, from where did he get the idea of self-sacrifice?
I couldn’t think of examples in movies, books, etc., that people give everything, including their lives, to save others. In most stories, the main character has that intention of self-sacrifice but they don’t die. They don’t give their lives for the cause. I’ve questioned if that gives people a feeling that self-sacrifice will not include death. That somehow they’ll survive. I don’t like that. I don’t think people understand what it means to truly sacrifice for others.
Then the events of Friday occurred. A crazed man went into an elementary school in CT and killed more than 20 1st graders. A few adults died protecting more children from harm. They sacrificed for those kids.
For the longest time, I’ve felt that my life would only have meaning if I sacrificed for other people. I accepted that death would be the ultimate sacrifice and now almost look forward to it. Those teachers who died on Friday have confirmed my beliefs.
They gave the ultimate sacrifice and left this world in the most noble way.
Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does. -Josh Billings, columnist and humorist (1818-1885)