In a culture that thrives on being “Entertained” it’s time we examine ourselves, and ask the question: Just what exactly is a hero? I have seen many heros. I have talked with a few. But how do you know they are “Heros” and not just “Celebrities?” Our culture seems obsessed with the whole concept of “Celebrity” or those who are famous for being famous. You gotta talk to many people because everyone’s definition seems slightly different. Some folks will walk around pointing to folks who do good deeds and call them heros. Others will say that a hero is someone who does something extraordinary on behalf of someone else. I suppose those are all good working definitions, some connotative (trying to come up with meaning for the word), and some denotative (giving examples).
I think a hero is something more as well. I think a hero is an “Ideal” for us to model in our culture. Right there you need to stop and say “Are people on TV heros?” or, “Are sports stars heros?” To which I would reply, absolutely, positively 100% NOT! Those people are overpaid celebrities. They bask in the glory of their own achievements. Some more so than others. Some are decent role models perhaps, but that’s a far cry from being a hero. Let me quote Henry David Thoreau: “A hero is commonly the simplest and obscurest of men.” When you take that to heart you realize that a hero, a true hero is a person who doesn’t want glory for themselves. They are not people who crave “Celebrity” status or anything like that.
I often tell folks how amazing it was that our President was so fond of saying “We” during his last election campaign (2008) but about 5 minutes after he got into the office of President of the United States, everything changed to “I.” It was head-spinning it happened so fast! That fellow actually thinks it’s all about him! That is no kind of hero in my book, or hopefully, in anyone’s book. The kind of people that rank as heroes in my book are the kind who rush into burning buildings to save people. They are the kind who join up to be in the Military in order to fight evil in this world and try to keep it “Over there” rather than sticking their heads in the sand (so to speak) and hoping we can prevent evil from winding up on our doorstep (again).
As I said, I have seen a few of those, and even talked with them. I met Colonel John Fer who was at the Hanoi Hilton with Senator John McCain. I met a fellow at my old church (Living Tower Church in Aurora, CO) named Joel who was blown up in Iraq (by an IED). Joel was not physically deformed by the blast, it didn’t take any overt toll on him, but he had a brain injury caused by the proximity of the blast (he was probably less than 50′ away from a 500lb bomb going off). In short, Joel had his number rung up! But Joel survived, and he has started a transformed life with Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
I think of the Port Authority Police and New York Firefighters who ran into the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001 to help get those people out of those burning buildings. I think of my brother in law Billy McCready and his brother Timmy who have been Volunteer Firefighters in Virginia for most of their adult lives. These are self-less people who do it because they care about others, not because they desire “Celebrity.” They also do it because they hope to make a difference in the lives of those they care about. By giving of themselves they are making the community better around them.
I think of those who have paid a terrible price facing evil on my (and in fact all of ours) behalf in far off places. I think of Farrell (a young Marine terribly wounded in Afghanistan), and Travis Mills (a young Airborne soldier who was blown up 2 days after Easter, 2012). I think of the thousands who have paid the ultimate price in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Europe, all over the South Pacific, anywhere where American soldiers have gone and laid down their lives in the name of freedom, whether it be their freedom or someone else’s.
All these brave men and women have contributed more to humanity than all the so-called “Celebrities” ever could. To their credit, many actors and athletes joined up to fight in WWII after Pearl Harbor. They are far different from the activist celebrities (pushing their liberal agenda on us) we see in Hollywood these days. They realized there are things worth fighting for, that we should not compromise our values, our culture, or our country. They knew that sometimes you just have to fight, and die for what you believe in.
A hero is simply somebody who gets fed up and decides to stand up and do something about it. Whether it be injustice, oppression of an evil dictator, or terrorism, or bullying. That’s why heroes so often go unnoticed. They don’t call attention to themselves, they simply stand up and do something. I never served in the Military. I haven’t ever been a “Hero” that I know of. But I serve a hero. Jesus gave His life for me. Jesus is God. He gave up all His heavenly position and status to come down and serve us humans. He came to die. He came because we were worth standing up for. Jesus is my hero.