Does America Still Have Heroes?

November 20, 2009
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It’s a bird, It’s a plane wait …no its Super Man! Even long before the man of steel, humanity has expressed an ardent desire for saviors. All through ancient literature we find stories such as Beowulf, Homer, The Iliad, where an individual or nation continually awaits and relies on a hero who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. A hero who does what is needed and chooses the right way and not the easiest. The longing we have as a society to find that someone who will save us from the dragon or rescue us from the misfortunes of everyday strife has always been a recurring theme. The question is however “Do we still have those sort of heroes in America today, or can our hope for the heroic be found only in comic books?”

I believe society has become confused as to what a hero is and what they do. Definitions range from winning the MTV music awards and getting the best dressed accolade to wearing a cape and having a secret lair (along with a trusty side kick). Joseph Campbell expressed “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”

Currently In America there are approximately 2.7 million enrolled in the military, and 6.2 million educators nationwide. Every day men and women put uniforms on risking life and limb to protect the borders and values of America. Every morning teachers, who despite budget cuts and salary decreases arrive at school in order to nurture and cultivate the minds of the next generation.

The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. TBottom of Form

There are countless examples of teachers and military personal sacrificing personal ambitions and goals so that America and the children of America have opportunities and a safe bright future.

Carl Schurz once said Ideals are like stars you will not succeed in touching them with your hands; but, like the seafaring man, you choose them as your guides, and, following them, you will reach your destiny.

My friend recently completed basic training in the Navy, he is under no delusion that there will be great obstacles and hardships along the path he has chosen for himself but more than that he realizes that the ideals he holds true to, those of liberty, freedom and honor is a reflection of Americas, and so by being a part of the military he can tangibly harbor those ideals while inspiring others to do the same.

Every day the people of America can be disheartened or enraged by the news of killings, natural disasters, recessions and corruption going on in the world but isn’t it better to light a candle than to curse the darkness? Emily Dickinson said “If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; if I can ease one life the aching, or cool one pain, or help one fainting robin unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” A hero in America may not be able to end world hunger or find the cure for cancer but the heroes that I have mentioned are lamplighters of hope and opportunity who are know by the trail left behind them.

I see these people every day. In a county where the unemployment rate is the highest in the state, my 3rd period science teacher Mr. Wachs wrote a grant on his own time that gave 12 high school students (including me) a job for the summer concerning natural resources and the sciences. He saw a need and produced a solution, a trait that I believe, heroic. My grandpa has served and fought in two wars, he’s broken a countless amount of bones, been shot at and lost numerous friends in the service however, his only regret is that he couldn’t have done more for a country such as America. Booker T. Washington expressed “There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, pure, simple, and useful life.” Those in the military and the educational fields persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, people that prove to me that there are most assuredly heroes in America, even if they aren’t mistaken for a bird or a plane.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Kristina H. said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm
This is a truly amazing article and so well written. You should think about writing underground;]
aussichick replied...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm
you know I've thought about it...If only people wouldn't move when underground organizations are in full swing  ;)
ozzychick18 said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 10:22 am
This is a great article so full of hope and inspiration!
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