When you hear the word “Hero,” what comes to mind? A character from a comic book? A leading man or woman from a movie? Maybe even a famous athlete?
Our society has twisted the meaning of what a hero is. We are no longer able to recognize real heroes. So, on this Independence Day, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves what heroes do.
Heroes sacrifice their needs and their wants so that others will have what they need. They give up time in order to help build a house, teach someone to read, or keep someone safe. They sacrifice their lives so that others will live.
Real heroes shy away from publicity. They take action because it is the right thing to do not because they wanted the whole world to know or because they get a huge paycheck. Real heroes act whether anyone sees them or not and most often when the cameras are off.
Have Regular Lives
Heroes have normal, everyday lives. They don’t have secret lives or alter egos. They have significant others, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, and a whole slew of family and friends. They have jobs just like the rest of us.
How to Recognize a Hero
So, how do you recognize a hero? That’s easy. A hero is often, not always but often, the last person you think. I’ve included a list, a guide if you will, to help get you started. It is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good place to begin.
Police Officers – They put their lives on the line everyday to keep the peace, keep us safe, and help us when we need it whether we want help or not.
Military – The Army, The Navy, The Air Force, The United States Marines, The Coast Guard, The National Guard – These men and women stand on a wall to protect our country and freedoms (even though people protest their funerals and spit on them). They spend months away from their families so that we may enjoy ours.
Firefighters – They run into burning buildings. Need I say more?
Teachers – They spend their days doing their best to educate and shape the future.
Single Parents – These men and women hold down jobs to house, feed, and clothe their children. Then they go home and have to be both mom and dad. Talk about split personality – they have to be good cop and bad cop, sometimes in the same half-hour.
Nurses – They handle our crap and the arrogance of the doctors.
The more you practice, the easier it gets to recognize heroes. The easier it gets to recognize heroes, the more real, everyday heroes you will see around you. Remember that nothing in this life is free. Someone had to pay the price in one way or another. Be sure to thank the heroes in your life as often as you can.