Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
HCP columnist

At a time when things seem hopeless and concern for the future of our country is on so many peoples’ minds, something happens to remind us that fundamental human decency still lingers inside most of us.

We need to pay attention to these reminders that are in plain sight, but are obscured by the insanity that is also in plain sight.

An Air Force veteran recently passed away in Texas. An individual who served his country, and for reasons we don’t really know, died alone and was, sadly, going to be buried alone. Somehow the word got out, and an estimated 2,000 people from near and far took the time to attend the funeral.

Yes, this is a feel-good story. Yes, we desperately need the reminders of our basic care of and for each other. We have seen so much nastiness and lack of decency of late, I feared our society was becoming inured to the plight of other human beings. The depth of the compassion shown for a perfect stranger is one of the many things that some thinks of as quintessential America.

Though negative behaviors receive the lion’s share of headlines, it may be better for our collective psyches and souls if we realized that most of the people not in the headlines quietly keep things going in a positive direction. Yes, there are people who lie, cheat, steal and treat other human beings in ways that are unconscionable.

But there are good people who will drive hundreds of miles to stand beside and honor an individual so he won’t have to face his final resting place alone and forgotten. There are many other quiet heroes who remember that human beings of all shapes and sizes deserve to live and die feeling like they matter, rather than only hearing how much they are unworthy and unwanted.

During the recent deadly polar vortex, we heard that a stranger paid for shelter for some of his community’s homeless, and teachers in poor communities made sure their vulnerable students had food.

I recently saw a story of a fast-food restaurant employee helping an elderly person navigate the task of eating, something most of us take for granted. We see buried beneath the headline grabbing ugliness countless stories of caring people rescuing animals in danger, and first responders who, in times of peril, put others first who have no place to go and have no one.

Even in our small community we have people, both young and old, who are alone, afraid and hungry. Fortunately, we also have people and groups who quietly try to provide a measure of nurturing and care. There are examples in our backyard and in our larger community of America who remember that all humans have value and no one should be hungry, afraid or die alone. Whether it is their vocation, avocation or just their caring heart, we see examples of people caring about people.

Sadly, there will be some who fall through the cracks of our society. Fortunately, there will always be some who try to fill those cracks so that no one has to live or die alone in the greatest country on Earth.

Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise.