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What is a hero? Is it someone who takes (legally) from the wealthy and gives to the poor? I’ve done that. Is it someone who speaks or acts for others who cannot speak or act for themselves? I’ve done that. Is it someone who risks self to stand up for those who cannot stand? I’ve done that. Is it someone who sacrifices their own wants and needs for the sake of those in greater need? I’ve done that too.
Now, this isn’t about me playing my own trumpet. It is, however, a set of examples. What is a hero? There are so many things that go into defining one that it’s almost too much to fathom. However, everyday heroes go unnoticed, unappreciated. We have seen so many overblown heroes in movies and read of so many in books that we’ve forgotten that we’re surrounded by them. The point is, you could very well be a hero, and not even realize it.
Now some might say that a police officer or firefighter is a hero, and they could be right, though those people’s jobs entail putting themselves in the line of fire to protect the public. No disrespect meant to them at all, but they chose a job that can make them be seen as heroes. Often people with big reputations and great wealth do some good and are seen as heroes, but depending on their motivations, they may or may not be such in reality.
Ah, but then there are the unsung heroes, and I count myself among them. There are those who do right, not for fame or fortune, but because we can imagine no other way of being. It’s in our blood to do what must be done, no matter the price. And there are more of us than the media would let you believe. Moreover, every one of us has the ability to become a hero, we need only choose to act upon that innate connection to all life and all that is right.
A child who stands up for a bullied peer even though they may be bullied or beaten in return, is a hero. The man who sees another man beating their wife and says “no more” even in the face of that rage and danger, is a hero. The woman who sees a homeless man, cold and alone on the street and gives him her coffee to warm his tired body, is a hero. The faceless person online who talks a teen through their thoughts of suicide and into hopefulness, is a hero.
We can all be heroes, and many of us already are. Any of us can do some outstanding thing that changes a life, and that, my friends, is the deepest definition of a hero. Anyone who, knowing they may receive no reward or thanks or fame, does that which is right simply because it is right, is a hero. Any one of us can do that at any time. Many of us have, and all of us can.
I ask all of you today, choose to be a hero. Choose to act, in every moment and in every possible way, for the betterment of those around you. Accept that you may likely receive nothing in return, but choose it none the less. Look to the world about you and see what should be done, what must be done, and do it. If it brings you any comfort, there are always rewards, though they are rarely immediate. If nothing else, the warmth in your heart and the comfort in your mind should be all the payment you seek. That, my friends, you will always receive.
There is no excuse for being a villain. There is no justification for preying on the weak or turning a blind eye. There is no glory to be had in violence, malcontent or deceit. The rewards of such things is temporary and fleeting. We can all be heroes, and the rewards from that will last a lifetime, and shape generations to come.