Yesterday we mentioned the emergency workers in Japan's coastal towns who stayed in their posts warning others of the danger right up until the tsunami hit. A friend saw it and forwarded me this post featuring this heartwrenching video.
The voice is Miki Endo, a 25 year old public worker in the Crisis Management Department of the city of Minami Sanriku. She is saying, roughly, "Please run away fast." The mess of red beams are the skeletal remains of the building from which Endo made her final broadcast.
The Mainichi Shimbum has the full story of Endo's heroic final moments. (The article isn't featured on their English language version, so you've got to run it through Google Translate.)
The city was one of the hardest hit along the Miyagi Coast. Of the 17,000 residents, 10,000 are feared to be dead, but the 7,000 who survived owe everything to Endo. According to the Mainichi story, Endo stayed at her post, repeating her warning, until the wave struck. Or, as blogger night rpm described it:
Miki Endo did not let go of her microphone, even during the very moment the black waves of the tsunami engulfed the city, so that every last villager could hear her warning call. One co-worker told Miki’s mother, that he saw Miki being swept away by the tsunami wave.
Another survivor, a 61 year-old man named Taeza Haga, told Endo's mother that the broadcast had saved his live. That he had heard Endo's voice and immediately jumped in his car and headed for higher ground. He told Endo's mother:
I heard the voice of your daughter the whole way.
If there's any comfort at all to be taken in the awful catastrophe in Japan, it is in these stories of true heroism. Like those 50 workers at the Fukushima nuclear reactor, who have stayed at their posts, fighting to avoid a meltdown while the entire region is evacuated, Miki Endo should be remembered as a true hero of the highest order, and remembered forever with grateful reverence.