There is a lot of misuse of the word ‘hero’ these days. Sometimes people just assume if you are in the police department of the military you are a ‘hero’. While there are many heroic individual’s that reside in these stations, it is not always the case. Public servants should be treated with every bit of respect their station deserves, but bear in mind there are great minority of truly awful people in these stations as well, as I know from personal experience as an infantry Marine. Be sure though, to recognize if you are a person saying teachers are not trustworthy because a child molester decided to wear their station as a disguise.
I surmise a great deal of animosity toward police and public servants is rooted in this cultural misuse of ‘hero’. People want to think, what makes them so much better? Then when you view a military person or peace officer conducting themselves inappropriately we are quick to react, as if to try to counter balance the ‘hero’ labeling. You see they dont deserve to automatically be heroes! Which holds truth, but the reality is usually in the middle. Peace officers and public servants in general are amazingly brave people that sacrifice much in their personal lives to make our lives safer, happier, and easier.
In a culture that is quick to slap a ‘Support our Troops’ sticker on a car, or post on Facebook, but also quick to run from an uncomfortable conversation with a veteran, I propose we need to take a close look at ourselves. What have you really done to support a troop? Do you really understand the sacrifice they have made in their lives for yours? We need to have a genuine respect and understanding, not this passive check in a personality test mindset.
A solution might be to think for ourselves, and not regurgitate media opinions. Know if a person is a hero. Don’t let someone just tell you they are, really understand for yourself why, only then can we as a culture be at peace with this label.
Further, take back ‘hero’ for the common person. Today movies and media tell us military, video games, and Marvel movies are the heroes, but the reality is that anyone can be a hero to others. Some of the greatest heroes in my life were my art teachers, my wife, and friends. They were there during some of my more desperate times. Always remember you can be a hero to someone, and give thanks often to those who are your own heroes.
Finally, I chose Mario for this piece because you might not catch immediately that it’s one of the most well known heroes of video gaming culture. Mario is a plumber, and not particularly in shape, and you might easily consider him lower class because he might not hold the coveted four year degree. But Mario is a hero because he is willing to help others, when he hears the call.