I’ve been so afraid to follow this story because I was afraid the ending would be tragic, but this time it wasn’t. The little 5-year old boy, Ethan, who was kidnapped from his school bus after the driver was killed for refusing to hand over any children has been rescued and he is unharmed, at least physically. The kidnapper did not survive.
A six-day standoff between an angry and violent survivalist who held a 5-year-old boy hostage in an underground bunker and a legion of local, state and federal law enforcement officials ended on Monday with the death of the kidnapper and the freeing of the boy.
The article goes on:
On Monday afternoon, sensing that [the kidnapper] was becoming rattled and that the threat to the boy was growing more severe, the authorities dropped two devices into the bunker that created loud explosions, heard by people across the highway. The explosions disoriented [the kidnapper], and immediately afterward two or three men moved into the bunker and retrieved the child. [The kidnapper] was killed in the rescue.
Although the story has a happy ending for Ethan, I think it’s important to remember the bus driver who did not survive:
The standoff began last Tuesday afternoon when [the kidnapper] approached a bus driven by Charles Albert Poland Jr., saying he wanted to give him some broccoli he had grown in his garden. The two knew each other; Mr. Poland had given [the kidnapper] a gift of eggs and homemade jam several days earlier. Once on the bus, [the kidnapper] handed Mr. Poland a note and demanded two children between the ages of 6 and 8.
Mr. Poland opened the emergency door in the back of the bus and as the children escaped he blocked [the kidnapper]’s way; [the kidnapper] shot him four times, killing him. [The kidnapper] then managed to take Ethan and set off the six-day siege of his bunker.
Because of the bravery of Charles Albert Poland, Jr. , 20 children escaped safely that day, and that makes him a big, damn hero. On Sunday, he was buried at a service attended by hundreds.He left behind a daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. And today the law enforcement officers successfully finished the struggle that Charles started. No part of his sacrifice was in vain. This time, every child gets to come home.
The Georgia Daily article describing him also quotes some friends and coworkers of Charles:
A former colleague described Mr Poland as, ‘A fine man. It was an honor to know him and absolutely no surprise that he acted as he did.’
Friend, Glenda Walker, 54, from Newton described him as a ‘dear friend who will be greatly missed,’ as she recalled ‘many time drinking hot tea and eating toast and just talking,’ with Mr Poland and his wife.
He sounds like an absolutely ordinary, everyday, American hero and I hope to God that for once people remember his name instead of the bad guy’s. We owe him, his family, and ourselves at least that much.