24/365 We Lost a Hero

The world shines less brightly today.

I’m not sure what to write about Bus Drive Charles Albert Poland Jr., but I feel like the least I can do to honor his heroism is to say something here.

Tuesday, when a man boarded Poland’s bus demanding he release his young passengers, Poland said no. This 66-year-old retiree, who was driving a bus to help make ends meet until his wife could retire, put himself between danger and the children in his charge. For that, he paid the highest of prices when Jimmy Lee Dykes shot Poland four times and killed him.

Poland’s son has said, “when a child boarded his bus, ‘they were no longer their parents’, they were his.'” Tuesday, Poland tragically proved that to be true.

There is much to be said about Dykes, and much likely will be in the coming days and weeks.

For this moment, though, let us focus on Poland, a man who found himself in an impossible situation and refused to abandon his commitment to the safety of those in his charge – the least among us.

I did not know anything of Albert Charles Poland, Jr. before Tuesday (let a lone that he was a hero of mine).

Sadly, I know now.

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