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CivicEngagementIII.EverydayHeroes

RichardA.Gershon,Ph.D.FreedomofExpression,Com.3070

WesternMichiganUniversity

CivicEngagementcanbedefinedasindividualandgroupactionsdesignedtoidentifyandaddressissuesofpublicconcern.Itisthefundamentaldecisiontomakeadifferenceintheworldthroughsomeactionoreffortonyourpart.Civicengagementcanmeannotonlyasetofactionsandefforts,butafeelingofbelonging,anexperienceofinvestmentandownershipinthelocal,regional,national,and/orinternationalpoliticalcommunitiestowhichacitizenbelongs.AccordingtotheNewYorkTimes,

Civicengagementmeansworkingtomakeadifferenceintheciviclifeofourcommunitiesanddevelopingthecombinationofknowledge,skills,valuesandmotivationtomakethatdifference.

CivicEngagementcont.

Improvingthevotingandelectoralprocess Registeringpeopletovote

Makingadifferenceinonescommunity Servingonthelocalcitycommission;school

board,publiclibraryetc.

Themilitarydefenseofonecountry Volunteeringtoserveinthearmedforces,Army,Navy,AirForce,Marines,etc.

Helpingtoimprovelivingconditionsforpoorandatriskadultsandchildren

Becomingacommunityorganizer;joiningthePeaceCorp.,workingforlocalvolunteerorganization

Helpingtoadvanceyouthsports Volunteeringasabaseballorsoccercoachforlocalcommunityyouth.

Beingexcellentatyourownprofessionaldevelopmentandthengivingsomeofitbacktothecommunity

professionalattorney,doingfreelegalcounseling;trainedcivilengineer,workingwithlocalenvironmentalcauses.

Civic Engagement Application

Aheroissomeonewhounderstandstheresponsibilitythatcomeswithhisfreedom

BobDylan

FDNY:September11,2001TheSeptember11,2001attacks wereaseriesofcoordinatedsuicideattacksbyAlQaedaupontheU.S.Onthatmorning,19AlQaedaterroristshijackedfourcommercialpassengerjetairliners.ThehijackersintentionallycrashedtwooftheairlinersintotheTwinTowersoftheWorldTradeCenterinNewYorkkillingeveryoneonboardandmanyothersworkinginthebuildings.Bothbuildingscollapsedwithintwohours,destroyingnearbybuildingsanddamagingothers.Inall,2,993people,includingthehijackers,diedintheattacks.

SeveraloftheunsungheroesofthatdaywastheNewYorkCityFireandpolicesdepartmentsthatwerecalledintorescuetrappedciviliansinthebuildingaswellastoextinguishflamesandburningrubble.FirefightersfromtheFDNYrushedtotheWorldTradeCenterminutesafterthefirstplanestruckthenorthtower.ThefirstresponsebytheFDNYwasonrescueandevacuationofbuildingoccupants,whichinvolvedsendingfirefightersuptoassistpeoplethatweretrappedinelevatorsandhigherlevelfloors.

Firefighterswererequiredtoensureallfloorswerecompletelyevacuated.Buthowdoyoumounteightyflightsofstairswhentheelevatorsarenolongerworking?Onceinside,andontheupperfloors,faultyradiocommunicationmadeitimpossibleforvariousfirechiefsandsupervisorstokeeptrackofthewhereaboutsoftheirunits.Asaresult,firefighterswereunabletoreporttocommandersontheirprogress,andwereunabletohearevacuationorders.WhentheSouthTowercollapsedat9:59a.m.,firefightersintheNorthTowerwerenotawareofexactlywhathadhappened.ThebattalionchiefintheNorthTowerlobbyimmediatelyissuedanorderovertheradioforfirefightersinthetowertoevacuate,butmanydidnotheartheorder,duetothefaultyradios.

Inall,343firefightersdiedinthecollapseofthetowers.Theflagwashoistedshortlyafter5PMasatributetotheeventsof9/11.Theflagcamefroma130footyachtnamedStarofAmericathatwasdockedintheyachtbasinintheHudsonRiverattheWorldFinancialCenter.OneofthefirefighterscuttheyardarmoffoftheyachtwithaKSawandthentooktheflaganditspolefromtheboattoanevacuationareaonthenorthwestsideofgroundzerosite.Theyfoundapoleabout20feetofftheground.

Successistheprogressiverealizationofaworthyideal.EarlNightingale

The1999Women'sWorldCupSoccerFinal

Itwasthe1999Women'sWorldCupsoccerfinalinPasadena,California.ThetwoopposingteamswastheU.S.andChina.TheU.S.womenssoccerteamhadgonefromnearobscuritytoanationalconversationpieceinjustthreeweeks.Withanestimated40millionU.S.viewers,theWorldCupfinalwasthemostwatchedsoccermatch inthehistoryofU.S.networktelevision.Theturnoutof90,185attendeesattheRoseBowlwasthelargesteverataU.S.women'ssportingevent.

BrandiChastainItwasthewaningmomentsofthe1999Women'sWorldCupfinalandthegamewasheadingintothepenaltykickphase.Previously,UScoachTonyDiCiccoTonyDiCiccoaskedassistantLaurenGreggtowritedowntheplayerswhocouldconverttheirshotswithapenaltykickshootoutinapossibleovertimeshootoutsituationOnlyfiveplayerswouldbeguaranteedachance,anddefenderBrandiChastainwasnotamongthechoices.UntilfourmonthsagoChastainhadbeenamongDiCicco'stoppickstotakeapenaltykick.Butthenshehurtherrightfootina21exhibitionlosstoChina.Chastainwassixthontheassistant'slist,areservetobeusedonlyiftheU.S.andChinawerestilltiedafterfiverounds.

DiCicco'alsoknewthatpenaltykicks,likefreethrows,havealmostnothingtodowithphysicalskills.Ingeneral,placingaballinthecornerofanet12yardsawayisnotthatcomplicatedatask.ButasamethodofdecidingaWorldCupfinal,penaltykicksareoneofsports'mostexactingassignmentsrequiringZenlikeconcentration.AsDiCiccowouldsaylater,

"Brandialwayswantstotakepenaltykicks.Notmanyplayersdo."

Afterabriefdiscussion,Chastainwantedtotakethekick butwouldbeforcedtouseherleftfoot.Tenminuteslater,Chastaintooktheshotthatbrokea44tieandgavetheU.S.theWorldCuptitle.ShesentalasershotpastChinesegoalkeeperGaoHong.Withoneswiftkick,ChastainmadetheU.S.Womenssoccerteamahouseholdname.Herjoyouscelebrationhasbecomeoneofthegreaticonicimagesinwomenssportshistory.

Courageisbeingscaredtodeath butsaddlingupanyway.

JohnWayne

Apollo11SpaceMissiontotheMoon

TheApollo11 missionwasthefirstmannedmissiontolandonthemoonandthe5thhumanspaceflightofProjectApollo.LaunchedonJuly16,1969,itcarriedMissionCommanderNeilArmstrong,CommandModulePilotMichaelCollins,andLunarModulePilotBuzzAldrin.OnJuly20,ArmstrongandAldrinbecamethefirsthumanstolandontheMoon,whileCollinsorbitedabove.ThemissionfulfilledPresidentJohnF.Kennedysgoalofreachingthemoonbytheendofthe1960s.

TheEagleHasLanded

OnJuly20,1969thelunarmodule(LM)EagleseparatedfromthecommandmoduleColumbia.Collins,aloneaboardColumbia.Asthedescentbegan,ArmstrongandAldrinfoundthattheywerepassinglandmarksonthesurface4secondsearlyandreportedthattheywere"long":theywouldlandmileswestoftheirtargetpoint.Thedescentwaschallenging.Apollo11 landedwithlessfuelthanothermissions.ThroughoutthedescentAldrincalledoutnavigationdatatoArmstrong,whowasbusypilotingtheLM.Aftertouchingdown,Armstrongrelayedhisnowfamouswords,"Enginearmisoff.Houston,Tranquilitybasehere.TheEagle haslanded."

OnMondayJuly21(10:39pmEDT,SundayJuly20),1969,Armstrongopenedthehatch,andbeganhisdescentontotheMoon'ssurface.Climbingdowntheninerungladder,ArmstrongpulledaDringtodeploytheModularEquipmentStowageAssembly(MESA)foldedagainstEagle'ssidetoactivatetheTVcamera.Despitesometechnicalandweatherdifficulties,ghostlyblackandwhiteimagesofthefirstlunarEVAwerereceivedandbroadcasttoatleast600millionpeopleonEarth.Afterdescribingthesurfacedust("fineandalmostlikeapowder"),Armstrongsteppedontothesurfaceofthemoonandintohistoryasthefirsthumantosetfootonanotherworld.Hethenutteredhisfamousline:

"That'sonesmallstepfor[a]man,onegiantleapformankind"

Aldrin later descending on to the moon surface

Buzz Aldrin's "Visor"

FreedomWritersSometimes,civicengagementisonepersonwithacommitmentandacleverideatoimproveanotherwisedifficultsituation.ConsiderErinGruwell,whobeganherstudentteachingin1994atWoodrowWilsonHSinLongBeach,CA.Asastudentteacher,shewasassignedthelowestperformingstudentsintheschool.Afewmonthsintotheschoolyear,oneofherstudentspassedanotemockingoneofhisAfricanAmericanclassmateswhopossessedlargelips.Infuriated,GruwelltoldtheclassthatthatwasthetypeofcaricaturethattheNazishadusedduringtheHolocaust.WhenonlyoneofthestudentsknewwhattheHolocaustwas,Gruwellchangedthethemeofhercurriculumtotolerance.GruwelltookthestudentstoseeSchinldersList,boughtnewbooksoutofherownpocketandinvitedguestspeakers.

FreedomWritersThenextyear,GruwellreturnedtoWilsonH.S.asafulltimeinstructor.Shewasgivenaclassoffreshmenwhowereseriousunderperformerswithareputationforactingout.Gruwell,perseveredandreachedherstudentsbyaskingthemtokeepjournals,Writingjournalsbecameasolaceformanyofthem.Andbecausethejournalsweresharedanonymously,kidswhooncerefusedtospeaktosomeoneoutsidetheirimmediateraceorethnicity becamelikefamily.Grwellalsohadthestudentsreadbookswrittenbyandaboutotherstudentsintimesofwar.ShemadetheconnectionbetweenShakespeare'sRomeo&Juliettoagangwar(i.e.,WestSideStory).Intime,thestudents,whoschooladministratorshadthoughtwerenotintelligentenoughtoreadhigherlevelbooksandwereexpectedtodropout,surprisedeveryone.All150FreedomWritersgraduatedfromWilsonH.S.andmanywentontoattendcollege.Gruwellsstorybecamethebasisofthe2007movieFreedomWritersstarringHilarySwank.

MiracleonIceThe"MiracleonIce"isthenicknamegiventoamedalroundinmensicehockeygameduringthe1980OlympicWinterGamesinLakePlacid,NY.OnFebruary22nd,aUSteamcomprisedofamateurcollegiateplayersledbyCoachHerbBrooksdefeatedtheSovietUnionteam,whowereconsideredthebesthockeyteamintheworld.TheU.S.wentontowinthegoldmedalbywinningthefinaloverFinland,whotookthesilver.TheSovietUniontookthebronzemedalbybeatingSwedenintheirfinalgame.Thevictorywasvotedthegreatestsportsmomentofthe20th centurybySportsIllustrated.

ThehomecrowdwasenergizedbytheU.S.team'simprobablerunduringgroupplay.ThehockeymatchhadstrongColdWarovertonesastheAmericancrowdwereinapatrioticfervor;wavingUSflagsthroughoutthegame.Duringthefinalperiod(atthe8:39mark),MarkJohnsonscoredfortheU.S.,firingaloosepuckpastSovietgoalieVladimirMyshkintotiethescoreat33.Later,MarkPavlichpassedtoU.S.captainMikeEruzionewhowasleftundefendedinthehighslotposition.EruzionefiredashotpastMyshkin,whowasscreenedbyhisowndefenseman.Score!!!ThegoalgavetheU.S.a43leadwithexactly10minuteslefttoplayinthegame.USgoalieJimCraigwithstoodaheavybarrageofSovietshots.

AstheU.S.teamtriedtocleart