Monday, October 6, 2008

Real Heroes

Barry Rubin, a writer at American Thinker, has an article titled Detecting Real Heroes where he discusses a Raymond Chandler essay that, according to Mr. Rubin, defines the American hero and what the American hero tells us about ourselves and our society. Mr. Rubin says that “Americans like their heroes flawed but not shattered.” We like them to be reluctant; thrust into the role of hero because of their moral character and their commitment to doing the right thing for the right reason. We understand that our heroes are not perfect; we don’t want them to be better than we are, we want them to be someone we could (or should) be. We like heroes who are ordinary, imperfect people with a good sense of humor, who don’t take themselves too seriously. Although we like our imperfect heroes, we also want our heroes to have a strong sense of self; an understanding of character and honor and integrity. Our heroes have a strong moral code and despise the fake or the petty. Mr. Rubin describes American heroes as

”These are the kind of people who serve in the military, risk their lives, endure torture as prisoners if that befalls them, and work the tough jobs. Or, to pick an example at random, such a person might be a mother who works her way up from the PTA to a governorship by raising five kids and choosing to have a baby with serious problems. Where one side sees a living being, the other sees a burden.

They are the store clerks who don’t be the big break and become rock stars. They are the insurance salespeople, the factory workers, the businesspeople on a big or small scale, the truck drivers, and all the rest. If they don’t get glamour they should at least get respect.”

Aside from Mr. Rubin’s obvious political bias (one which, in the interests of full disclosure, I share) he’s right about the characteristics of the quintessential American hero. Real heroes, everyday heroes, are everywhere. They are the “wise who solve what the smart create.” They are the young men and women who choose, who volunteer, to serve a cause bigger than themselves; often at risk to life and limb. They are the wounded warriors who think only of recovering and rehabilitating so that they can rejoin their “buddies” in the field to get the job done. They are the mothers and fathers who work hard everyday to take care of their children; who give love and laughter along with the discipline. They are the people who give back to the community, the church, or the nation, rather than take just because they think they’re somehow “entitled.”

We don’t have to look far, or read the papers to detect real heroes. We all know someone who is a real hero. I know several. I’m sure you do, too. I know my AF-daughter and Marine-son are heroes. They chose to serve our nation, willingly, knowing that they may be called to put their life on the line. I know my daughter-in-law is a hero. She chooses to support my son’s choice to serve. They are easy heroes to detect. There are others, not so easy to see. I know a father who comforted his sick young son by letting him sleep on his chest, at the expense of the father’s own sleep and despite the father’s need to work the next day. I know a grandfather who worked hard every day of his life, but took the time to volunteer to teach the community’s youth the joys that of riding and caring for horses. I know young man who lost an eye in service to his country, but still wants to serve and still sees a future in service; despite having only one eye. I know a good man who has worked hard to conquer his demons and has changed his life for the better. These true heroes are more private heroes; but heroes nevertheless. I also see my mother and my grandmother as heroes. These strong and capable women raised children with love, and discipline, and helped instill a strong moral code based on honor and integrity in their offspring. I see my daughter as a hero. She’s picked up the torch these strong women lit and is carrying it forward in raising her own children. All of these heroes are real people, imperfect people, who just try to do what’s best. That’s what makes them real heroes.


Grama36 said...

Thank you for bringing to our attention what a real hero is. and every one of them would not consider themselves a hero!!!!
Consider yourself a hero to Lela not only for your service to your country but for raising a family while attending college and law school and for putting everyone else first. Thank you

Anonymous said...

I very much believe in the comment of "grama36",Having read your blog and post over the last few months I have seen the hero within you.When I look at the sacrifices you and your family have made for our country and the effort you devote to this post, I see the person (hero) that instilled the morals,ethics and devotion to our country in her children.I know some of the people which you write about. Heros in our eyes, just Americans in thiers.

Sevillalost said...

Do you know that young man with one eye, though? Have you talked to him? Corresponded with him? Have you ever let him know that you think of him?

lela said...

I have talked with him, just not recently. I liked him, though, and I can tell you that anyone who can approach the type of injury he had, with the extensive rehabilitation and surgeries he needed, and display the humor, positive attitude, and courage he's displayed will always be a hero in my book. One day, he'll know just how much I admire him.

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