He was born in Poland in 1923. By the time he was 16, he was an orphan.
In 1939, when the Germans invaded Poland, Elia Miranski lost both of his parents and two of his siblings to war. Elia was certainly scared to death to be so alone while the evil German soldiers slaughtered his family. At one point he found himself hiding in a swamp for three days, fearing for his life. The Germans, with their hunting dogs, searched for anyone and everyone they could find to capture or kill. Elia slid beneath the surface of the swamp breathing only through a straw to hide from the Germans closing in on his location.
Not much is known — at least by this author — of what happened to Elia after that until 1992. Somehow he had outwitted the Germans, hid himself well, and escaped to find refuge in Israel. He stayed there for three years until finally moving to the United States in 1995. Most recently, Mr. Miranski — now 91, calls Silver Spring, Md., his home.
That is, until a bus, loaded with 14 middle-schoolers coming back from a White House field trip, struck him down in a walk way and killed him. The incident is still under investigation, so I can’t tell you anything about why or who’s to blame. But for the purpose of this column, those details aren’t necessary.
It struck me as sadly ironic how a man who had survived so much in his life would find the end to that life in a street struck by a school bus. Doesn’t matter who’s to blame — that’s not the point. There’s always some direction to point blame. The fact is crime happens, accidents happen, evil happens. No one should have to watch their parents and siblings get slaughtered by war. No one should have to survive by hiding under swamp waters breathing through a straw while fearing the dogs who are hunting them down just above. No one should have to flee his home and country to find refuge in a foreign land.