In the fire service we are loaded with priorities and important choices. One of the issues of Time Magazine offered a list of 20 people they considered to be heroes of the last 100 years. Some of those names I recognized and possibly agree could be considered heroes, names like Billy Graham, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Mother Teresa, and the American G.I.. Still others listed I question their being called heroes; Marilyn Monroe, Bruce Lee, or the Kennedys. I guess it would depend upon your definition of the word “hero”. Still others were names that I didn’t recognize and had to look them up to see what they were known for. Names like Emmeline Pankhurst, Bill Wilson, or Harvey Milk.
If I were to ask you who your heroes were, what names would you give me? Would I recognize any of those names? How do you define the word hero? I have my own definition, but I had to look up the word in a dictionary just to see how “they” define what a “hero” is. Of course, just as each of us may have different ideas or definitions, the dictionaries I looked in had different definitions.
Webster’s dictionary says that a hero is “a man of distinguished valour or intrepidity”. Then, of course, I had to look up “intrepidity”. It means, “fearless bravery in danger”, “undaunted courage”. Good definitions, I think. Then, in Cody’s Merriam-Webster dictionary, a hero is, “one that is much admired or shows great courage”. Finally, in my Random House college dictionary a hero is defined as, “a man regarded as having heroic qualities and is considered a model or ideal” and “a small loaf of Italian bread”.
It is interesting to me how our definitions of hero have been modified over the past half century. We have gone from “fearless bravery in danger” to “one that is much admired” and “a small loaf of Italian bread”. For some reason, we had been putting the “hero” label on people who could play sports, sing songs or act on TV or in the movies. But who are your heroes?
*True heroes aren’t the ones rushing for touchdowns, they are the men and women who are rushing to the scene of a burning building, or a traffic collision – willing to risk their own lives to save the life of someone else.
*True heroes are not recognized because they wear baseball uniforms, they are recognized as the men and women in Fire, Police and EMT uniforms. They are the ones who are wearing the uniforms of our various branches of the military.
*True heroes aren’t the people who take center stage at a concert, they are the ones taking classes in their spare time so that they are trained to the best of their ability when they come to your aid.
*True heroes aren’t the ones wearing gold medals on their chests, true heroes are the ones with the badges on their uniforms.
*True heroes aren’t the modern day pop stars driving around in their big limousines, they are the officers driving around in emergency vehicles that promise to “protect and serve.”
True heroes are those who serve the citizens of the city that they work for and place themselves in harms way each and every day.
These Heroes Are No Sandwiches