How many of you reading this right now are familiar with Batman, Superman, and the rest of the DC universe clan? I'm sure that many of you indeed are very familiar with these fanciful characters. Ironically, we refer to these fantastic figures by calling them superheroes. Certainly in their comic book world they may serve in a hero's capacity, however these are not the heroes that we should be applauding. Real heroes don't wear costumes and real heroes certainly aren't arrogant and most likely aren't from another planet. So who exactly are our real heroes?
I recently wrote an article about the characteristics of true heroes and what sets them apart from the rest of us. It was a great article that lead me to really think about who the real heroes in America are. If you've read my previous article you'll know that many of the individuals that we idolize everyday would not be considered heroes. In fact, these celebrities and famous figure heads represent a group of people in society that we could call "The False Idols."
That's not to say that there aren't celebrities who have shown heroic characteristics - that's certainly possible (though it seems to be rare). I certainly wouldn't consider Lindsey Lohan or Rihanna a hero, however the famous actress Angelina Jolie might be. Undoubtedly her decision to undergo a double mastectomy will make her a hero for many young girls around country. But this is the exception, not the rule. America's everyday heroes are people that may normally go unnoticed through everyday life, however, they are never forgotten and by no means unappreciated.
A soldier is one of the most iconic symbols of heroism that exists in American society today - and for good reason too. Not many people or professions can match the heroic efforts of a battle wounded, torture toughened, and highly trained solder of the United States Armed Forces. I'll let you decide which branch (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard) deserves the title of most heroic - I know which one has my vote. America's soldiers are asked to endure a grueling training regiment to prepare for war. When they are called upon to fight for our country they bravely suit up, don their weapons, and bravely leap into the heat of battle. Many soldiers make it back home to fight again another day however many don't. To me there is no other profession that is more heroic than that of an American soldier.
Like soldiers, fire fighters are also iconic symbols of heroism. These brave men and women train to protect our communities from fires and other natural & man made hazards. If ever a flood or tornado occurs in a community, fire fighters are often the first people called upon to respond to the disaster. Fire fighters are often seen running towards a catastrophe when most other people are seen running away from it. A perfect example of this type of bravery was shown during the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. In addition to disaster response, fire fighters are often valued members of the volunteer community and have also been known to rescue cats from trees.
It's pretty obvious why many people would consider the men and women who decide to become police officers heroes. Police officers put their lives on the line every time they clock in to serve and protect their communities. While writing traffic tickets might not be considered heroic, officers of the law often chase criminals and bring down crime lords. This type of work is very dangerous and it takes a courageous individual to serve the community in this capacity. Police officers serve with integrity and must have a high strength of character to uphold the basic laws of the United States of America.
I would definitely consider many doctors to be heroes. Doctors are known for helping sick and injured people to get better. They analyze a patient's symptoms and medical history to determine what's wrong with them. From there they often prescribe a treatment that will most likely lead to the patients' recovery. While that doesn't sound all too heroic, lets consider the fact that most doctors are often under immense stress, constant scrutiny & the threat of lawsuits, and endure long hours sometimes without breaks. However, in spite of these tribulations, doctors still come to work each day because they know how important their jobs are to America's health. What it boils down to is that the work that doctors do saves lives and prevents human suffering. And indeed that is something heroic.
Are teachers heroes? I would argue yes. America's teachers are a proud workforce that make up an integral piece to American society. Teachers of today are given the incredible task of preparing our youth for the future. They guide, inspire, and lead our children towards independence and help prepare them for adulthood. Teachers are some of the most influential people around and given a very unique responsibility. Many would argue that these selfless individuals also serve in a parental capacity to our children. Teachers are the backbone of our education system and without them our society would literally collapse. Teachers are heroic because of the importance of their job and the fact that serve to be leaders in our communities.
Would you think of an engineer as a hero? Perhaps some of you might, but it's likely that in general engineering isn't considered a heroic profession. However, as an engineer myself let me state my case and you can decide for yourself. Like doctors, engineers also save people's life. You may not realize this, but every building that you have ever been in and every bridge and road you have driven on has been touched by an engineer in some form or another. Engineers ensure that our buildings stay standing, that our bridges don't collapse, and that our roads can support the volume and weight of the traffic it carries. Society relies on these highly educated and trained individuals to ensure that the overall safety and welfare of the general public is protected. Since an engineer's decision can have such a profound impact on society and human welfare, I would consider their job as heroic.
Are You a Hero?
Of course, this list of heroic professions is only the beginning. Even if you're day job doesn't involve fighting crime and battling criminals, you can still be a hero. If you've got a good attitude and if your heart is in the right place then being a hero shouldn't be a problem for you. You don't have to be a professional to positively impact someone else's life nor are any special skills required to stand up for justice. If you've got children then you're already someone's hero. Don't squander your abilities & skills and don't waste the opportunities that you have. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes but opportunities only come once in a life time.
Jo_Goldsmith11 on September 05, 2013:
A very well written description of a hero. I noticed as I was voting, the surprise of which choice leads the Hero crew. I believe it to be a lonely place for a hero. They seem to be forgotten as soon as the heroic action is lost in the news cycles.
A vote up +++ shared and tweeted. Thank you for sharing, awesome. :-)