What is a “Hero”?

This has been a month of reflecting on our freedoms and how fragile they are. How do we keep them? Where do we start? How do I help? Who can I depend on?

With Memorial Day behind us and the 4th of July on the horizon I got to thinking about the great sacrifices others have made for my freedom. A few years ago I was asked to be one of the speakers at a “Heroes Recognition Day”. That was a great honor, not considering myself heroic by any stretch of the imagination.

I got to thinking…  What makes someone a hero?  What is a hero? How do you identify a hero?  And let’s not confuse Heroism with Bravery!!!!   Some say a hero is born and not made.  I say a HERO is made. By the examples they see and those that touch them throughout their lives.  A hero is not someone with extra human strength or special abilities. A hero in the simplest form is someone who puts others before themselves…  NO MATTER WHAT THE RISK!!! or NOTORIETY or personal gain.

To steal a phrase from a “geeky” movie, when “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” … that is the thought process of a HERO.

Most people think of the superhero, the knight in shining armor, rescuing the damsel, the soldier overseas, but I want to bring it closer to home as well, not a larger than life person, some want to go right to a mother, or father, (parental love is very strong). Who comes to mind, for me … teachers, public safety officials, healthcare personnel, firemen, police, military service personnel, hard-working and under-appreciated front line workers!

Community leaders who also make a great sacrifice of time and family for the greater good of the community as a whole.  People who make our communities, cities, states, and country a place you want to be part of. What’s the motive? Fame? Fortune? HA! How about to simply help society and others.

Not only the war heroes but their parents, spouses, children, brothers, and sisters who, in an act of selflessness, bid their loved ones goodbye never really knowing if they will ever see them again, BUT understanding it’s for the greater good and safety of US all… AND all of us owe them honor and gratitude.

When you think of those who sacrifice for the greater good who do you think of!?!?!?

Abraham Lincoln fought slavery…   Roosevelt, Truman dropped the bomb to stop the war…  John Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Who comes to mind, for me? Rosa Parks standing for others…

Martin Luther King and civil rights…  Ronald Regan “tear down this wall…” Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi. They are among the many who have gone before.

What about the ones around us the everyday? Not ordinary heroes…

This September this country (I hope) will again remember what is considered one of our darkest hours, next to Pearl Harbor. Reflecting on that dark hour, we should look at the light that overcomes the darkness. THOSE HEROES… men that ran toward when others ran away.

Inside the World Trade Center, there are many stories of heroes. One man could have saved himself BUT stayed until the end at the side of his quadriplegic friend. A beloved priest died giving the last rites to a firefighter. Two office workers, finding a disabled stranger, carried her down 68 floors to safety. These are true heroes.

To the group of moms and dads who get up early on Saturday morning to go out and fix the sports fields their kids play on so that ALL the children can be safe…

And to the parents that spend time with their children involved in and active in their lives for their greater good even at the LOUD objections of that child…

Locally… the police and firemen who put their lives on the line every day to protect people they don’t even know, a youth counselor staying with a child in crisis averting a possible suicide. To the men and women who deliver meals to the elderly… These are true heroes too.

Heroes come in many shapes and sizes, colors, races, religions. I salute all of you today. Thank you for your service. I pray daily for your safety and that God’s angels would be camped around and about to protect and keep you, and that HE comfort and bless you and your families for the daily sacrifice you make.

Thank you for your service. Republican, Democrat, Independent …
AMERICANS alike!

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