7 March 2013
Are You My Hero?
When the word “hero” comes to mind, what do you see? A guy in tights with a cape or a person fighting for something they believe in? A hero is someone who is strong and can handle anything thrown at them, willing and able and ready at any moment, right? Karl Marlantes’s story shows such heroism during the Vietnam War and my mother’s story show’s a more personal heroism. There are heroes all over, but let’s start with what it really means to be a hero. A hero is defined as “a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal” (dictionary). That statement is so broad though. A person performing a heroic act could be a police man standing between a robber and clerk or a fireman running into a burning building. It could be a soldier fighting overseas or a doctor saving an innocent life. It could be a social worker rescuing an abused child or a loving Sunday school teacher who always smiles and gives the best hugs. It could be a marine returning home to surprise his kids or the local basketball coach who devotes all his time to helping the team. It could even be a service dog who never left his partner’s side, whether it was a police officer, military or special needs person. It could be the mom to her baby with a skinned up knee or the daughter who visits the nursing home. It could a person’s grandparent or sibling or mom or dad. There are an infinite number of possibilities of who a hero could be. So how does a person decide who is a real hero and who is not? And furthermore, how does a person decide who their hero is? Karl Marlantes, a retired Marine and published author, was seen as a hero by many on one very important day. He tells the story about a hot day in 1968 when he led his troops through live fire up a hill to safety. He recalled, “If I didn’t get up and lead, we’d get wiped. I re-entered my body as the hero...