Chicago is known as the city of big shoulders.  Chicago is also known as the city of big hearts.  We are a city that pitches in, rolls up our sleeves, gets our hands dirty, to do make things right.  Some. like politicians and local celebrity philanthorpists do it for the buzz, the publicity, to get their mugs and names in the news. 

But, there are also big hearts in Chicago who are anonymous.  They prefer it that way.  They just do things they believe have to be done. Quietly.  Without taking credit or generating any publicity.  They do not care about pats on the back or public acclaim.  They are nameless and faceless.  Just like the people they help.

Two such stories emerged this week.  They represent the spectrum of life- a new born baby and an elderly person.  One came into the world with her potential cut short. The other lived his life and fullfilled whatever he deigned his potential to be. Life is messy- from birth through death. Life should never be anonymous.

The newborn died after birth.  The details are not important.  She lay in the morgue waiting until the county would put her in a cheap pine box and an anonymous pauper’s grave.  A group of individauls would not allow that.  They chipped in, made phone calls, and arranged a proper burial with religious rights and flowers.  They even gave her a name so she would no longer be anonymous.

An elderly man passed away, alone, unloved, and uncared for, in one of the city’s worst nursing homes.  A group of indiviudals got together and arranged a proper burial for him too.  He will go home with his “friends” surrounding him.

Both groups did not advertise their actions, publicly fundraise, or promote themselves on Facebook or Twitter.  You will not see or know their names.  They just did what they thought had to be done in a quiet manner because it was just the right thing to do.  No one should leave this world alone, uncared for, unloved, and anonymous.

It would surpise some to learn who these people are.  But, since they do not want pubic accolades for their good deeds, I will leave their anonymity intact.  All that’s important is to know such people exist in our city.

They know who they are, what they did, and that is all that counts.  They are the quiet heroes of our everyday lives.  People with moral courage and values who stand up for what is right and do the right thing.  Quietly.  Effortlessly.  Anonymously. 

They are the big shoulders of Chicago.

Thanks to TN3PC.


About Peter V. Bella

Peter V. Bella is a passionate cook and photographer. Mr. Bella started cooking as a child with his parents. He has taken professional courses through the years. Mr. Bella a a freelance photojournalist and writer based in Chicago.
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