A True Hero Essay

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A True Hero

As I read David Halberstam’s ideas in his essay, “Who We Are” (2004), I started thinking about our nation’s leaders and heroes. September 11th came to my mind and the many firefighters and rescue workers who heroically risked their lives to save complete strangers. Then, I remembered that the media dubbed Jessica Lynch a hero when she came back to the United States. Not only Jessica, but also many other American soldiers fighting abroad are called heroes. I started wondering if their bravery actually makes them true heroes or not. I asked myself, what is a hero? Do people need heroes? Where does the belief that we need heroes come from? This belief has caused us to over apply our use of the word to almost everyone:
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Thinking under such an old light causes unclear shadows to be cast on our ideas of who we call heroes.

II. Popular Definitions of a hero
Today, the archaic meaning of “hero” has transformed so that there are not only larger-than-life heroes, but also ordinary people with the title. Instead of looking far and wide for a hero, we just have to look near and close for heroes. These heroes most often exist in the unlikeliest of places, right among us. Helen Keller once said, “The world is moved along not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker” (Think Exist Quotations, 2005). Honest workers are ordinary people who perform extraordinary accomplishments. They make the world a better place by simply doing their jobs and being the best person they can be. In A Choice of Heroes, Mark Gerzon (1982) discusses men who “symbolize the emerging masculinities” or archetypes, which he calls The Companion, The Mediator, or The Nurturer, for example. However, these men that Gerzon describes as his leaders “are not superheroes; they are real men with ordinary faults. They are ordinary heroes” (p.236). These ordinary heroes that Helen Keller and Gerzon describe could be a father, a preacher, or a doctor. Often, times of tragedy unearth other everyday heroes. For example, on September 11, 2001, policemen, firefighters, and rescue workers became the face of

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