Heroes have been celebrated in song and story for generations and millennia. One local hero has lately left us–too soon–and three songs/poems come to mind.
#1. Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1879 “Pirates of Penzance” contains a “patter song” titled “The Major-General’s Song” in which the gentleman referred to sings, ”I am the very model of a modern major-general.”
Now Craig Moser would never have laid claim to be the very model of anything, but he was. He was the public servant who truly believed in service at every level of public life–village government, national military service, state, local and regional academics. He believed in reason rather than vituperation. He believed in working through problems in a thoughtful manner, with an eye to long-range results–anticipated and unanticipated–as well as immediate needs. He believed in giving and taking responsibility and would step up to shoulder obligations even when he had not personally sought them out. He believed in honesty and respect, as anyone who dealt with him, in public or private life, can attest.
#2. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, “The Clerk’s Tale”, the author presents an individual motivated by a love of learning rather than pursuit of riches. One commentator states that he is a man of few words but what he does say tends to increase moral values in the listeners. The pertinent lines are, “And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.”
Craig Moser was an academic, in the best sense of the word, whose tower was built, not of ivory, but from hand-cut stone of logic or custom-crafted local brick. He loved to teach; he loved to see his students grasp and use what he could encourage them to see. He loved the give-and-take of collegial discussion and argument that led to understanding, if not agreement. He enjoyed the advancement of his students and his colleagues. He took pride in accomplishment. He worked for the betterment of local schools. He contributed to the life of Hiram College. He served the broad aims of higher education across the region. He never, ever, stopped learning…gladly.
#3. And, finally, there’s a country-ish song title–no offense to all of you western equine-assisted bovine-management professionals out there– that implores, “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” No…what?
Mamas–and Papas too–help your babies grow up to be persons who take seriously the responsibilities of citizenship, as well as the rights. Help them to be individuals respected across divisions of age and income, class and culture, education and employment. Help them to be kind, considerate, upright and good. Let them be articulate and creative, honest and funny. Raise them to be deserving of the outpouring of concern and co-operation evident at the Celebration of Life for Craig Moser : three communities coming together for police protection, over three hours of groups and individuals, officials and friends, family and former students offering condolences, a U.S.Marine in full dress uniform, a formal police salute and military honors, a rifle salute and “Taps”. Let them grow up straight and strong and well-loved by those around them. Let their families reflect their virtues and radiate their commitment.
And, just maybe, sometime when a hero — anyone in your life–comes to mind, hum a little of this one, a chart-topper for Bette Midler in 1989 in the movie, “Beaches”, titled “Wind Beneath My Wings” or just “Hero”.
Did you ever know that you’re my hero, and everything I would like to be? I can fly higher than an eagle, ‘cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
We always need more heroes.