Two movies about historical events are opening next week and they ask the same question -- how do you respond when faced with certain death? "300" is the story of the battle of Thermopylae, with 300 Spartans against thousands of Persians, filmed before as "The 300 Spartans." And "Beyond the Gates" takes place during the genocide in Rwanda. A priest and a young teacher turn their school into a sanctuary, but when the UN peace "monitors" leave, there is no way to protect the families hiding there from the assassins with machetes waiting outside.
Like The Alamo and Masada these stories remind us of the dignity, honor, and meaning that can be drawn from the direst of circumstances. That the stories span thousands of years of history should remind us of our failure to honor the memories of those who have died by learning how to prevent the need for such sacrifices.