Have you ever
wondered how you would react to an emergency situation? A
real emergency? All of us have been tested. But most people
haven't been tested with the ultimate test of all: What if
you could save the lives of others by giving up your own?
On April 16,
2007, Liviu Librescu was given the ultimate test.
He was able to
save his own life but some of his students would die or he
could give his life, but many young students - with their
whole life ahead of them - would be spared the murderous
weapon of a fellow classmate.
the test and gave up his life. He took four bullets on that
day, while he held the door to his classroom closed so his
students could escape.
At least 22
young lives were spared by Professor Librescu's courageous
What can we
learn from the professor's courage under fire? What real
life lesson can we take from him since most of us are not
called upon to give our lives for others?
There is a lot to learn.
The fact that
Liviu Librescu, of all people, was the one to give his life
so others may live is a lesson in and of itself.
Librescu grew up in Romania and as a young boy suffered
persecution at the hands of the Nazis, may their names be
blotted out. When WWII was over the Communists ruled in
Romania. The professor then suffered once again for being a
finally reached Israel he had every reason to live only for
himself. He spent so many of his young and formative years
under persecution that it was essentially his time to enjoy.
But he taught at Tel Aviv University and
Technion in Haifa giving over his vast knowledge,
made a name for himself as a special professor and was
invited to Virginia Tech as a visiting professor. Librescu
so impressed the University that he was invited to stay.
Librescu, a man who understood murder, who understood
persecution, showed courage under fire. He knew that he must
save his students - the ones with their futures ahead of
At this point he
could have said, "Madmen took enough of my life. I should
run and save myself."
But he was a
mentsch. He told his students to run and save themselves.
Even at the
bitter end he was worried about others.
His legacy to us
is that regardless of our own personal circumstances, we
should be aware of those who need more and be ready to give