The Wal-Mart stampede in Long Island, N.Y., last month exposed the ugliest side of the Christmas season. But not all Americans live by "The Blitz Line Starts Here" credo. Not all of us rush to store shelves in search of the greatest gifts. Sometimes, they can be discovered in the hearts and souls of total strangers. If only you look.
What an extraordinary treasure America was given in Dong Yun Yoon. The naturalized American from Korea lost his entire family in a San Diego military jet crash three weeks ago. The tragedy claimed the lives of his infant daughter, toddler daughter, wife and mother-in-law. It wrecked his house and upended his world.
But Mr. Yoon refused to blame the pilot or bash the military. At a press conference near the site of the crash, the grieving father and husband urged his fellow citizens to pray for the pilot: "He is one of our treasures for the country ... I don't blame him. I don't have any hard feelings. I know he did everything he could."
In an age of shoe-tossing temper tantrums, anti-troop bigotry and litigation gone wild, Mr. Yoon demonstrated both amazing grace and unbending patriotism in the face of unfathomable pain. His heart-wrenching plea for forgiveness resounded across the country -- and around the world. Five hundred people from both the civilian and military communities came to lift Mr. Yoon up at his family's memorial service. The assistant pastor of his church reported that they had received more than 1,000 phone calls and e-mail messages offering condolences and financial support.
Mr. Yoon's suffering and sacrifice are powerful reminders of the preciousness of life -- reminders that money can't buy.
Haleigh Poutre is another of those priceless gifts. She's the miracle child who was nearly beaten to death by her barbaric stepfather three years ago. Hooked to a ventilator in a comatose state, she was then nearly condemned to death by Massachusetts medical experts and the state's criminally negligent child welfare bureaucracy, which hastily declared her to be in a hopeless vegetative state and wanted to pull the plug on her life.
God had a different plan. The government's campaign to kill her was stopped after the then 11-year-old girl started breathing on her own and responding to commands. This little girl with an iron will to live has been nursed back to health by an amazing team of caring therapists. Her plight brought end-of-life issues again to the fore -- issues that so many on both the left and right would prefer to ignore.