Thought for the Day: “Human Courage”


In 2008, my father cut this obituary from the New York Times, wrote the two words “Human Courage” on it, and mailed it to me. No further words were required, the photo alone was testimony enough.


My father measured Americans solely by the content of their character, and Merlin German’s courage moved my father beyond further words. German was burned over 97% of his body.  He died 1,146 days after the IED blast, following a surgery. By all accounts, he never gave up.


This week, too many people made blanket generalizations about immigrants from poor countries, and suggested they didn’t have anything to give America. Merlin German’s parents were immigrants from the Dominican Republic, the country adjacent to Haiti.  What they give our country?  Their son.




Merlin German was born in Manhattan, a product of public schools there.  Too many people from the middle of the country, most of whom have never spent a day in New York City, make assumptions about the values, ethics and loyalty of New Yorker’s.  German’s life should offer some correction.


Wewjr .



One Reply to “Thought for the Day: “Human Courage””

  1. Amen!

    Since my my father immigrated to the US, not speaking a word of English at 17, then put himself through an Academy (high school), 2 years of college and seminary before going to China in 1932, in the depth of the depression, as a missionary, I am acutely aware of and have met many immigrants, not only from China, but many other countries who have worked hard to better themselves and the United States.

    Many of these immigrants of all faiths from poor countries didn’t have an education when they came, but they raised families, and made sure that even if they were not successful financially, that the next generation got an education or worked hard to contribute to our country. Merlin’s parents made the ultimate contribution.

    Semper Fi, Merlin German, RIP.

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