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Monday, January 19, 2009

A tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary

Human endurance and courage have always testified its permanence at times, defining capabilities of doers in creating their own name and fame. Significantly stressing the same, the tradition of legends have not only aspire thousands but on pragmatic ground for people who elucidate qualities to bring change have always defied the normal human limitation in doing something extraordinary. Like such, Sir Edmund Hillary is yet another name that shines in history of mankind as the arch of achievement and aspiration for all.

Whether you call him a legendary mountaineer or an expert navigator or a Philanthropist, no matter what you call him. Sir Edmund Hillary was a pillar of strength, who by his esteem dedication not only nailed nature’s highest point Mt. Everest but with his tall aspiration brought change in people’s lives through his organizations Hillary Foundation in different parts of the world.

Sir Hillary once said, “I don't know if I particularly want to be remembered for anything. I have enjoyed great satisfaction from my climb of Mt. Everest and my trips to the poles. But there's no doubt, either, that my most worthwhile things have been the building of schools and medical clinics. That has given me more satisfaction than a footprint on a mountain,” adding, “I was just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities who was willing to work quite hard and had the necessary imagination and determination. I was just an average bloke; it was the media that transformed me into a heroic figure. And try as I did, there was no way to destroy my heroic image. But as I learned through the years, as long as you didn’t believe all that rubbish about yourself, you wouldn’t come to much harm."

Although these words manifest the greatness of his legacy, but seeking more toward the brawny part of his personality, his simplicity and dedication made him the man known to the world.

Sir Edmund Hillary was born to Percival Augustus Hillary and Gertrude Hillary, on July 20, 1919 A.D in (1919-07-20)Auckland, New Zealand. From his childhood, he was a shy and adventure enthusiast. He did his primary education from Tuakau Primary School then Auckland Grammar School. He had a huge interest in reading. The turning point in his life came at the age of 16, during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu, when he gained confidence in mountaineering. He gained confidence with uncoordinated effort and his height of 6 ft 5 in (195cm) eased him. He found that he was physically strong and had greater endurance which gave him the determination to endure mountaineering as a passion. He further continued his studies with mathematics and science at Auckland University College and later scaled Mount Ollivier, New Zealand in the Southern Alps in 1939AD. He climbed the Southern Alps in both summer and winter, to practice both rock climbing and ice pick work, and also took up wrestling for techniques.

During the outbreak of World War II, Sir Hillary applied to join the air force, but his application was withdrawn before it was considered. Following the introduction of conscription on the outbreak of war in the Pacific, he joined the New Zealand Air Force in 1943 A.D as a navigator in Catalina flying boats. Similarly, in the year 1945 A.D in one of the operation in Solomon Islands, he was badly burned in a boating accident after which he was send back to New Zealand. By this time a dream had born to enclose nature’s wildest vanity to overcome it by defying physical boundaries.
"In some ways, I believe, I epitomize the average New Zealander: I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination, and I rather like to succeed," said he.
Prior nailing Everest, in the year 1951 A.D, Sir Hillary was part of different expeditions. Like such, was a British exploration team led by Eric Shipton. Following the same in 1952 A.D Sir Hillary and George Lowe were again part of the British team led by Eric Shipton to Mt. Cho Oyu. After failing that attempt, Sir Hillary and Lowe crossed the Lho-La into Tibet and reached the old Camp II, on the northern side.
Likewise, Sir Hillary joined a British expedition led by British mountaineer Sir John Hunt in 1953 A.D. It was in hard May and after a grueling climb up from the southern face battling the effects of high altitude and bad weather, Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa managed to reach the peak at 11:30 A.M local time on May 29, 1953 A.D.
"I continued hacking steps along the ridge and then up a few more to the right... to my great delight I realized we were on top of Mount Everest and that the whole world spread out below us," said Sir Hillary.

The news of the succession did not reach the outside world until June 2 and on the eve of the Queen Elizabeth II's coronation; Sir Hillary and Sir Hunt were knighted by the Queen for their achievement while Tenzing received the British Empire Medal. Immediately after the successful Everest expedition, Sir Hillary and Sir John Hunt published their account of the expedition, The Ascent of Everest.
Adopting the normal life standard, Sir Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on September 3, 1953A.D. They had three children: Peter (1954), Sarah (1955) and Belinda (1959). Climbing Everest was the apex of his career, but Sir Hillary had a lifetime ahead of him. He continued to go on expeditions and climbed ten other peaks in the Himalayas on further visits in 1956 A.D, 1961 A.D and 1965 A.D. He also reached the South Pole as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, for which he led the New Zealand section, on January 4, 1958A.D. Shortly after, He was also awarded the Polar Medal for his part in the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

As the years passed, he became more concerned with the welfare of the Nepalese people (Sherpa’s) and in the early 1960s; Sir Hillary began raising money to build a school for the children of Khumjung. He later established the Himalayan Trust, which, since its establishment has funded more than 30 schools in Nepal, as well as hospitals, medical clinics, gompas and airstrips.
"I have never felt sorry for the Sherpa’s, and I have never tried to impose projects on them. These are all things that the local people wanted, and we just responded. Every time we finish one project we get more requests," said he.
During the time, Sir Hillary’s cashed his fame in fundraising and into his ninth decade and he spends more than half the year travelling the world raising money for the trust.

Again in the year 1975 A.D, Sir Edmund Hillary's published his autobiography “Nothing Venture, Nothing Win” followed by “From the Ocean to the Sky” in the year 1979A.D.
In 1975 A.D while travelling to join Sir Hillary in the village of Phaphlu, Nepal where he was helping build a hospital, his children Louise and wife Belinda were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu airport shortly after take-off. In 1977 A.D, he led a jet boat expedition, titled "Ocean to Sky", from the mouth of the Ganges River to its source.
Similarly, in 1985A.D, he was appointed as New Zealand High Commissioner to India (concurrently High Commissioner to Bangladesh and Ambassador to Nepal) and spent four and a half years based in New Delhi.
In 1985A.D, he was accompanied by Neil Armstrong in a small twin-engine ski plane over the Arctic Ocean and landed at the North Pole. He thus became the first man to stand at both poles and on the summit of Everest. Sir Hillary was again married in June to Mulgrew, the widow of his close friend Peter Mulgrew, on December 21, 1989A.D.
In 1992 A.D, Sir Hillary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note; he was the only New Zealander to appear on a banknote during his or her own lifetime. Later, he was also awarded the highest award for chivalry "The Knight of the Order of the Garter (KG)" on April 22, 1995 A.D and in the 1999 A.D, he published his second biography “View from the Summit”.

In 2003 A.D marking the 50th anniversary of the ascent, the Nepalese Government conferred Sir Hillary with the honorary citizenship. He was the first foreign national to receive such an honor from the Nepalese government. Similarly the same years Apart from that, a 2.3 metre (7.5 ft) bronze statue of him was installed outside The Hermitage hotel at Mt Cook village, New Zealand, in 2003 A.D.
On April 22, 2007A.D, while on a trip to Kathmandu he was reported to have suffered a fall and was hospitalized after returning to New Zealand. On January 11, 2008 A.D, Sir Edmund Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital at the age of 88 around 9 AM the local time.
Hillary's death was announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark at around 11:20 AM. His death was recognized by lowering flags to half-mast at the New Zealand Parliament, Auckland Harbor Bridge and at Scott Base in Antarctica.
Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand said, "He was an heroic figure who not only 'knocked off Everest but lived a life of determination, humility and generosity"
A state funeral was planned for 22 January. It is known that Hillary wished to be cremated, and for his ashes to be spread over Waitemata Harbor in Auckland which was performed according to his will.

Text Compiled by Shreedeep Rayamajhi
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Hillary,


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