Rescued Miners in Chile Prove the Cynics Wrong

If you take away our flags, our politics and religion, we are the same

I went to The Dakota yesterday, the gorgeous co-op apartment building at 72nd and Central Park West in Manhattan. I wasn’t alone. When I arrived, there was a steady flow of tourists taking photographs of the building where John and Yoko lived, where Yoko still lives, and where Lennon was shot to death leaving his home on December 8, 1980. Some didn’t take pictures; they just stood there for a moment as if in front of something sacred.

On Saturday tens of thousands gathered outside the Dakota and across the street in the Central Park Garden named “Strawberry Fields” on what would have been Lennon’s 70th Birthday.

We all have our reasons for being drawn to the site. I thought of Lennon yesterday and the world he so brilliantly imagined in song as I joined tens of millions around the planet watching the unbridled joy of men being raised from the earth in a slow but certain miracle.[SIGNUP]

“Imagine all the people living for today.”

What was it about those men, about their story, that brought the world together? What moved us to pay attention to a mine in a remote area of Chile, a country we rarely think about? Thirty-three miners trapped deep in the earth attracted great minds and expertise from every continent to help. Suddenly, without planning or debate, the world was one in a pure and simple effort.

And then the rest of us watched. The American TV crews stood side-by-side with Al Jazeera and television crews from North Korea and Russia bringing unfiltered emotion to homes in Siberia, Tehran and Philadelphia.

Suddenly our differences mattered not. We came together because of what we share — a deep inner belief that things will turn out okay, not only for the miners, but for ourselves, our families and each other. Despite what cynics say, if you take away our flags, our politics and religion, we are the same. We are taught to be different.

And so we can easily fill up with emotion for 33 men we will never meet in a land most of us will never see. Just imagine if the world could come together like this more often to solve other problems. For one day, we didn’t have to imagine.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

Those Miners went into the earth for silver and gold, but they returned with something much more valuable — hope.

“I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.”


LARRY MENDTE writes for The Philly Post every Monday and Thursday. See his previous columns here. To watch his video commentaries, go to