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Don’t forget the heroes who gave their lives stopping a racist’s deadly train assault

Jeremy Christian is the name in the headlines. But Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche are the names worth remembering. In sacrificing their lives to protect those of two innocent strangers, they leave behind a legacy that while tragic, can also inspire hope and meaning in others.

Back in 2017, Christian boarded a Max train in Portland, Oregon where he began verbally harassing two young female minority passengers, one of whom was wearing a hijab. When that harassment escalated to threats of physical violence, three brave passengers intervened. Christian pulled a knife from his coat and attacked the three passengers, fatally wounding Best and Namkai-Meche.


As an Oregon native, I can attest that few events have rattled the local population like this. Often considered a progressive oasis, Oregon has faced more than its share of racist and right-wing incidents over the years. But there was a unique urgency to this event and the way these three genuine heroes responded in the face of violent bigotry that impacted people who call Portland home.

Local vigils were held for the victims. At the time, survivor Micah Fletcher refused to take credit for his heroic intervention, instead saying that attention should remain focused on the two young girls targeted by Christian:

"Can you imagine being the little girl on that MAX [train]?" he says in the video. "This man is screaming at you. ... Everything about him is cocked and loaded and ready to kill you."

"So brave that young girls experience that and still find ways to wake up in the morning with smiles on their faces, to trudge through the day and make their parents proud," he continues.

Reportedly, Namkai-Meche's own last words were a message of love, telling a fellow passenger on the train who was attempting to comfort him in his dying moments:

"He said, 'Tell them, I want everybody to know, I want everybody on the train to know, I love them.'"

Christian will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. And that's where he belongs for committing such horrible crimes and for showing zero remorse. His actions should not be forgotten, lest we allow hateful crimes like it to be perpetrated again.

However, when it comes to headlines and the stories we choose to tell in remembrance, it's an important opportunity to keep the focus on the three men who literally put their lives on the line in the name of decency, especially for those two who are no longer with us. And as Fletcher himself said, the focus going forward should be on the two young women who were the targets of violence to begin with. Using this as an opportunity to face the toxic elements of our culture, treat them, and move forward, is the best way to honor those who paid the ultimate price to protect the innocent.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

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