The Greatest Heroes

My mother sent me a book entitled “Hero”. No idea why she figured I’d like it. It’s full of quotes and I imagine you’ll be hearing my thoughts on them over the next week or so.

“The world knows little about its greatest heroes.” Dan Zadra.

There’s a lot in that little sentence. What spoke to me though was how much it went along with what I’ve been trying to do with the Gallery of Heroes. I need to do more of it because it can be quite a rewarding experience. I learned a lot by researching Saint Therese. I discovered things I didn’t know about Amelia Earhart and Mahatma Gandhi. I knew nothing about Aung San Suu Kyi, Asa Philip Randolph, and Reinhold Messner. Perhaps the most enjoyable moments have come when other people submitted their heroes. That’s how I found out about Randolph and Messner. So if you have a hero (Steve Yzerman for example) I’d love to see your submission. I’m going to get working on some more of mine too.

Side note: Dan Zadra is the first quote in the book and it is published by the company he owns. Interesting.

6 Responses to The Greatest Heroes

  1. Erik March 13, 2007 at 11:27 am #

    I would love to see a hero’s journey of the Brave Little Toaster.

  2. Superman Artichoke March 15, 2007 at 6:01 am #

    I second that.

  3. Matt Langdon March 15, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    So, write one. I have no idea who he is.

  4. MLA March 16, 2007 at 8:56 pm #

    I just submitted one on Steve.

    The Brave Little Toaster would be a fantastic addition, he is too cool.

  5. Jocelyn Major March 19, 2007 at 6:29 pm #

    For me and several Dutch people, Leo Major is the World Greatest Hero. Here is why:

    He was on the Front line at D-Day. On the first day he alone capture a German Armoured Vehicle (he was a scout so on foot). He saw the Hanomag coming his way from Caen. He fire at the driver (he was also a sniper) injuring the man (He shooted to kill only when he didn’t have a choice). They where 3 German aboard this vehicle, one tried to use is heavy machine gun but died before he pull the triger. My father ordered the other German to drive the Hanomag to the Canadian force. There the English Canadian ordered my father to give them the vehicle with all is prize ( Big Bunch of German Radio with the German Code) my father refused telling that since it was a French Canadian that capture the vehicle it must be deliver to the French Canadian Division. 4 days later during a patrol Leo Major encounter a SS patrol (6 men) they all dies but the last one just before he dies throwed a phophoreus grenade at my father. He lost an eye but refuse to be evacuated because he add a war to finish. Several week later he was severely injured when the Bren Carrier he was in was destroyed by a mine. His back, several ribs and his two ankles where broken. He was brought to a field hospital where they put him in a cast. He escape when he learn that they where to send him back to UK. At the automn of 1944 during the battle of the Scheld he was send to investigate the disappearance of a Canadian platoon. He add to cross a river because the bridge was destroyed. He entered a village and found out that the patrol have been captured by the German. So he investigate further and he saw two German sentinels walking on a dam. He decided to capture the first one and use it as a bait to capture the second one. So he capture the first one but as he approach the second one he add to kill him. So still using the first one as a bait he manage to capture the remaining of the group (close to 100 German soldiers) this is a proven fact. While he was escorting his prisoners to Canadian line the SS on a nearby village opened fire at the group killing some of them. A Canadian tank passing by was ordered by my father to open fire at the SS. So the Commanding officer (Col. Dextrase) of the La Chaudiere Regiment couldn’t believed his own eyes when he saw Leo Major with is 93 prisoners. Several month later on April 13 the regiment was in the vicinity of the city of Zwolle in the Netherland. The commanding officer ask for volonteer to investigate the German force in the city (In the montns of march and April they had lost around 50 men every single day so it was woth lot of precaution that the Canadian force approach Zwolle). My father and his best friend (Willy Arseneault) volonteer nowing that they got the possibility of not surviving this mission. So at night the began their mission and they entered the Van Gerner farm where the farmer Hendrik and his sister tried without success to communicate with the 2 Canadian soldiers. They tried to warn them that lots of German where hiding in the wood around Zwolle. Leo and Willy continue their mission. Unfortunatly Willy was kill just before midnight when he crossed a German line of fire. Leo was mad and he killed 2 of the 4 German responsible for the death of his friend. He decided to continue his mission (but he add now a different idea of the kind of mission he will do). So he followed the railroad and entered the city at Sassenport where he use is machine gun, grenades and even the German’s machine gun. Several German where killed during that night including the SS at the SS HQ, several member of the Gestapo (he also put the Gestapo HQ on fire). So he made so much noise that the German truly believed that a large group of the Canadian army have entered the city. So at 4h30AM in the morning an exausted Leo Major realised that the city was now empty of German. He alone have liberated an entire city. Around 5h00AM he encountered some underground people. He ask them if they speak french or english. They present him a lady (named Genengoff if I remember correctly) she was an english teacher in Zwolle. So he told her to use a Radio to tell the Citizen of Zwolle that they where free. He did what he want to do: Save them from the Canadian Artillery that was going to fire at the city to weaken the German Force before the assault. Without his action several thousand of Zwolle’s citizen would have been killed. From that day he is knowned by the citizen of Zwolle as “Their LIBERATOR”. He received is 1st DCM (Distinguish Conduct Medal) for this action and in April 2005 he received the title of “Honorable” Léo Major from the Netherland.

    His 2nd DCM he received it during the Korean War. The American have lost a key hill (the hill 355) leaving everything behind: Weapons, food..etc. They tried to recapture the hill without success. So they ask the Canadian 22nd Regiment if they could tried. They didn’t success either. So the commanding officer ask Leo if he could do something. So he ask to choose his men and that all the rhum ration be reserved for these men. At night they depart and shortly after midnight they hill was in their hand. The chinese tried to recapture the hill but Leo and his men had all the ammo they need (the AMERICAN ammo and grenades. They hold the hill for 3 days before been replaced by the American who lost it again 2 days later. For this action he received his 2nd DCM.

    So he is really the greatest hero of the world and probably of all time. He was as several military had said: “A one man army”

  6. Brian Richmond March 27, 2007 at 9:58 pm #

    Leo Major is one of the greatest heroes of WWII and the Korean War. His intellect and bravery saved many lives, civilian and military of both sides. He only killed when he didn’t have any alternative. He is a true humanitarian. It’s unfortunate I only found out about him tonight, March 27, 2007, through a History Channel documentary. Leo Major’s obscurity to Canadians is typical but unacceptable. I am ashamed, as a Canadian, that Leo Major is not honoured enough but he makes me feel proud to know that he’s one of us, a Canadian.