Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel
At a makeshift memorial, Portlanders reflected on heroism.
Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel
At a makeshift memorial, Portlanders reflected on heroism.
Will we remember, in a year’s time, the gratitude we feel now for the three citizens who stood up to a man ranting hate in order to protect two teenaged girls on a light-rail train? Two of those protectors died and the third was injured.

We should remember, not just the sorrow of the men’s deaths but also the inspiration and gratitude we feel because of their sacrifice. “I hope I can be as brave as you. Thank you,” one chalked note said at the Hollywood Transit Center’s makeshift memorial.

Rick Best, 53, was a Catholic father of four, a clean-cut veteran who ran for the Clackamas County Board because, “I can’t stand by and do nothing.”

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, was a recent Reed graduate who worked for an environmental consulting agency.

Micah Fletcher, 21, the third man, is a poet attending Portland State University.

The men became heroes on that train. Best was likely the only Christian, but all three followed Christ’s words, applicable for all faiths and no faith: “Love each other as I have loved you.” (Jn 15:12)

The men’s varied backgrounds should remind us that we are called to love all, not just our own partisans. Love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres,” (1 Cor 13:7), as one of the chalk memorialists wrote at Hollywood, where that bloodied train stopped.

Let’s remember. The rains will wash away the chalked messages at the transit center, the flowers will wilt and notes will be cleared away.
It’s up to us to remember, despite the passage of time, the fact that startling, heroic goodness exists among us.