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Thai cave survival is a story of human triumph

Such a happy ending to news on the world stage is seemingly rare today.

A photo released by the Royal Thai Navy

A photo released by the Royal Thai Navy on July 7 shows a group of its divers during the rescue of 12 boys and their football coach trapped in a cave. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / HANDOUT

The Wild Boars are safe. And the world is cheering.

For 18 days, many of us were captivated by the frightening story of the 12 young soccer players and their coach, trapped in a cave in Thailand. We expressed relief when they were found alive one week ago, we cried when we learned that one of the divers sent to help them died late last week, we worried as it seemed time was running out last weekend.

Now, after an incredible three-day rescue through watery tunnels, we rejoice.

Such a happy ending to news on the world stage is seemingly rare today. Indeed, I watched this saga unfold with a familiar sense of dread, a feeling that this might not end well.

Perhaps that’s why Tuesday’s final rescues brought with them such exuberant joy — and hope.

At a time when so much of our news is dark and unsettling, when so much of our discourse is ugly, when our nation is so divided, we needed a moment of pure goodness, the exhilaration that comes with an unexpected victory, even more.

It was a story of how dozens of divers, volunteers and others came together to bring those 12 boys and the coach out of harm’s way and into safety.

It was a tale of heroism, tinged with the tragic death of Saman Gunan, who last week ran out of oxygen after delivering air tanks to the trapped boys.

And it was the children — a group of boys like any other group of boys, some with wide smiles, others with eyes marked with fear.

Until recently, we didn’t know all of their names, but it didn’t matter. We knew that they ranged in age from 11 to 16, they loved playing sports and being outdoors, their classmates looked forward to sharing fried chicken together upon their homecoming.

We knew their parents and friends anxiously awaited their return. And so did we.

The children and their coach have a long recovery ahead, physically and psychologically. For now, we celebrate them and the heroes who came to their rescue, a story of triumph and what’s possible when people are at their best.

And perhaps we can hold on to that just long enough to hope such unity, perseverance and care for one another might prevail again.

Randi Marshall is a member of amNewYork’s editorial board.


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