“I would die for you.”
It’s a statement meant to communicate a level of passion or care for another person that surpasses all others—a love so strong you’d be willing to give up your entire existence to safeguard that object of your affection.
But what about the person who gives his or her life willingly, for total strangers? How do you express the proper level of admiration and gratitude to those who have lost their lives in service to others through their humanitarian work?
The answer from the United Nations comes in the form of World Humanitarian Day, designated by the UN General Assembly in the wake of a bombing of UN Headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003—a bombing that took the lives of 22 aid workers. World Humanitarian Day is meant to highlight those humanitarians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for others and to raise awareness for the causes they championed.
First commemorated in 2009, each subsequent year has focused on a particular theme. 2021’s theme is “The Human Race,” an effort to support those in developing countries suffering most markedly from climate change.
I believe the best way we can celebrate those who have given their lives in humanitarian service to others is by continuing, and amplifying, their work. I applaud the efforts of all those carrying forward the legacy of heroes who gave everything for the causes they believed in.
More about this year’s opportunities for involvement can be found at www.worldhumanitarianday.org.