“Look just because some man in a red coat hands you a sword, it doesn’t make you a hero!”
~Susan Pevensie, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Movie
What then does make a hero? Does a uniform? I know when I think of a hero, the first thing that comes to mind is our men and women who serve in the military. I don’t know if that is because my Gramps Pat who served in WWII, his grandpa who fought in the Civil War, or my uncles who were in Vietnam. I do know that I get teary eyed as I hear
“Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave. O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”
Since 9/11 another group comes to mind as heroes. They, too, wear a uniform but it is a different style than the military. Police officers and firefighters have been regulated to the status of hero. I know in our community where it is a volunteer firefighting group, I know many who go out at night for an accident or a fire. I even have two students who have come in to class groggy because they were out late on a call the night before. With the fire raging in Canada right now, many would view those who are fighting it as heroes.
What makes a hero? Is it someone who does some great act that goes against the grain of who they are? Is it someone who stands up for what they believe? What is it that defines a heroic deed? Just as courage can be simply doing what you know needs to happen even when you don’t want to or don’t feel like doing it; so, too, being a hero is doing what you know needs to be done whether or not others would do it.
Take this case in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where Coca-Cola installed cameras on public transportation to see who would give up their seat for someone who needed it. Their statistics are interesting. When I asked high school students to compare them with a similar situation in the US, students weren’t too sure Americans would be heroes as often as Ecuadorians.
Quite often this definition of a hero is seen in books, especially fantasy. Someone is thrust into an unknown situation or world and is forced to do what has to be done, but doesn’t necessarily want to or feel qualified to do so. Yet, even in the world of make-believe we can see glimpses of truth. Things we can aspire to.
In the real world, we have people who are heroes. After showing the Coca-Cola movie to high school students, I asked them to describe who their hero was. Their answers surprised me. Many of them said their Mom!
Who is your hero? Answer in the comments for a chance to win the first book in my fantasy series.