It’s rare that I run across a story that almost brings me to tears, but that’s exactly what happened when I read about a 15-year-old boy who died tackling a suicide bomber at the entrance gate to a school in Pakistan. The bomber was targeting students gathering for their morning assembly.
I wasn’t moved to tears because of the tragic sadness of the loss of this young hero’s life (though it is extremely sad) but the bravery this young man showed to save his classmates from pure evil, knowing it could very well cost him his life, was extraordinary. I was moved by the absolute heroics displayed in a moment of unexpected crisis. To think a 15-year-old took it upon himself to tackle a suicide bomber is unreal. In a world where we often see countless examples of selfishness, this brave act of selflessness left me speechless.
Apparently the bomber (dressed in a school uniform) asked ninth-grader Aitzaz Hasan where the school was, which Aitzaz felt was suspicious. Instead of simply answering the question and moving on, Aitzaz challenged the bomber.
As one witness stated:
“The other students backed off, but Aitzaz challenged the bomber and tried to catch him. During the scuffle, the bomber panicked and detonated his bomb.”
Another witness said Aitzaz threw rocks at the suicide bomber before eventually tackling him to prevent him from entering the school where hundreds of students were assembled for the morning gathering.
The word “hero” often gets thrown around in situations that honestly doesn’t warrant such a label. But in this instance, I feel the word properly describes young Aitzaz Hasan.
Anyone who puts their life on the line — or ultimately sacrifices it — to save the lives of others can legitimately be called a hero. However, when we think of those who do this we envision an adult. A fire fighter, member of our military or police officer are often those we view as heroes. While we honor these people, and their stories of bravery move us, on some level we expect it considering it’s the job they signed up for.
But to think that a 15-year-old boy, walking to school with his cousin, took it upon himself to sacrifice his young life to save the lives of hundreds of his schoolmates is truly remarkable.
I hope that not only in his own country of Pakistan, but all around the world, this young man’s bravery will be properly honored. There are hundreds of young boys and girls still alive today because of the sacrifice of Aitzaz Hasan…
A true hero.
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