A Word with You - Oct. 10, 2012

Tsunami Heroes

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If you're a parent, or even a grandparent, when your kid gets a great teacher, they become a hero to them and to you. But every once in a while, a teacher does something so unforgettable that we nominate them for the Heroes Hall of Fame. Robert Bailey is one of those. He's a 27-year-old British teacher who was serving in a school in Japan. A school that suddenly was right in the path of that monster tsunami that swamped northern Japan. The students there had eight minutes to find a safe place after the tsunami sirens went off. He described the moment the earthquake hit this way: "We first heard a weird cracking noise, and then came the violent shaking."

Bailey said he immediately ushered the students outside onto the baseball field so they wouldn't be hit by falling debris. They found ground that was slightly elevated and then they just watched the water just keep coming toward them. Thankfully, they were able to avoid the killer wave as it passed through the valley below them, but their school was obliterated. Every other student, 137 of them, was unaccounted for. But the 42 in Robert Bailey's class? They survived because of one man who led them to safety, a hero.

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Originally published October 10, 2012.