It’s time to put away the G.I. Joes
What is a hero to us today?
Do they run through a burning building to rescue a little old woman? Donate millions and attend outreach programs in foreign countries? Give a limb to defend their country? While the answer may seem clear-cut it’s more complicated than black and white. It may seem unsettling to think about but the greatest majority of people in America lie somewhere in the gray area. They’re not fundamentally good or bad but merely human with regular wants, needs, passions, and desires. It may seem vindictive to generalize people as being morally ambivalent but it’s the truth. A man can land a Airbus A320-214 onto the Hudson and be hailed as a hero but the next week he may cash in his popularity for major bucks to the media. Also to consider is that a pilot’s job is to use all of his skills to make sure that the passengers and crew take off and land safely. So even if someone is “just doing their job” can they still be seen as a hero? Or does a hero require more [or less] than that these days?
Perhaps the span of heroes is not small but large. Even though most people do look only after themselves and those they love, their actions still keep society in a state of stability right? Maybe there are heroes that are recognized nationally were just in the right spot at the right time. There have been countless stories of local heroes being celebrated for small but noble acts like saving another’s life or performing lasting charity work for the community over a span of years.
The ancient Anglo-Saxons had a different of idea of a hero. To those people, a hero was a great warrior them proved himself in battle numerous times. They accumulated great wealth and had songs and epic poems told about them over generations. These heroes were boastful and brutish as compared to modern times. The public adored them like gods and expected no humility from them. Looking back at a different time and comparing it today, it’s obvious to see why the image may be different. However, when we elevate an individual to a hero is it alright for them to brag about it publicly? Maybe some would see it as a flaw in character but would still hold the same allocation of heroic qualities to the person. Like almost everything ever observed, it all depends on perspective whether or not a person will regard another as a hero. We will always unavoidably assign these roles to others as we see fit and over time it’s possible that a hero today will be completely unrecognizable tomorrow.