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Friday, November 29, 2013

HOW DO YOU DEFINE A HERO?


HOW DO YOU DEFINE A HERO?

A crazed lady at a recent Oakland Raiders football game threatened to leap to her death from the third tier of the Oakland stadium.  A 61 year old Marine (I’d say retired, but does a marine ever actually retire?) on the tier below yelled for her to stay put.  The women jumped to her apparent death.  The Marine moved under her, arms outstretched to catch her, and broke her fall. 

The Marine was hospitalized but somehow not seriously injured.  The woman is in critical condition.  The Marine was called a hero. 
He claimed he was not a hero, “How do you define a hero, I just did what I would do for anyone else? I just did what anyone would do.”

I think he just did define “Hero.” 

I would like to say I would do the same thing as the Marine.  If a person’s life was in danger and I could do anything to help, I would risk my life to save a stranger.  I’d like to think I would be a hero.  Sadly, I doubt I would.  I’m pretty sure I would step aside and say, “That’s a shame.” I would not do what “anyone would do.” I am not anyone. I am not a hero.

These heroes’ always say the same thing,

“I just did what anyone would do.” That is why they are heroes.

Yes, if I was on that second tier and a stranger was about to jump I would think, “Damn, that crazy lady is about to die”…and then she would.  Sorry, I am not a hero.  I am not ready to risk my life for someone I don’t know, someone who is probably mentally disturbed and possibly not able to be rehabilitated.  

There must have been dozens of people on that second tier that could have done “what anyone would do.”  Only the Marine did.  There was only one hero.

There must be something in the genes of heroes.  There is something where they can only do one thing, what they think anyone would do because they are compelled to do the right thing. 

There are lots of potential heroes out there, men and women that have just not yet been put to the test.  Many are doctors, nurses, service men, firemen and policemen.  They stand prepared to do “what they would do for anyone else; just what anyone else would do.”

Except not just anyone else would do what they do.

That is why we call them heroes.

13 comments:

  1. True words you write here. We "would like to think", but until it faces us in reality, we'll never know. But these people, service men and women, are trained to ACT, not just "think about it". What's that saying?....Action talks, bullshit walks.

    S

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  2. i don't think i know many (possibly any) people who would place themselves under a jumping person to try to catch them.

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  3. I've never been put in a position to do anything heroic so I have no idea how I would react. Probably not the way I would hope I would. I just hope I don't have to find out.

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  4. I think that a child in peril brings out the hero in more people than something like the situation you mentioned. I have to agree with your assessment and with Tex's comment. And Lowandslow is quite correct about the training part, but there are many who still jump to action without any kind of training in their background.

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  5. When my older was in Iraq, he was involved in many firefights with the enemy. Buddies died in his arms. He knew it would upset me to know how close he came to death, so he talked about it with my husband, but not me. I just know I'm proud of him and glad he's home. Despite the danger he was in while over there, he made light of it. He never asked me to send him anything. Not a thing, except candy for the Iraqi kids. To me, he's a true hero. I know a lot of every day heroes, but I definitely don't know if I could put my life on the line either. Maybe sometimes being a hero involves a split second decision that you just do on instinct.

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  6. I hope that's something I never have to find out about myself, but there must be a special place in heaven for people like that Marine!!

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  7. It's easy to say, yeah, I'd be hero and save someone if the situation presented itself. We all imagine ourselves as heroes but I can only hope I'd be brave. You never really know until your moment comes. Take care.

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  8. you never know until faced with the circumstance. i've had opportunity several times in life to make a personal sacrifice or put myself in danger for someone else's benefit.

    i have not redeemed every opportunity but have more than once. i can say that i might not have stepped up as this man did. that was true sacrifice, there was no way he would not be injured.

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  9. You have take-charge people and sit-back people. We see it at school. Those teachers who will step into any situation, even though it's not their responsibility. Take an informal workplace poll, and I bet all of us would name the same 5 people we'd want next to us in a crisis.

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  10. So true....you may be a hero...you will never know until you are tested.

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  11. Yes, this is a hero, and the real ones always seem to be surprisingly modest about their efforts. I want to believe that most of us would move to help, but the reality is that we would probably hold back a moment, hoping that someone else would take the lead. Heroes don't hesitate. Great post, Joe!

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  12. i agree he is a hero. i take slight issue with the idea of "what anyone would do." would i have done what he did? i can't honestly say, probably not. that said, a few weeks ago i was the 2nd car at a stoplight. when the light changed the car in front of me started to turn left when a man crossing the street stumbled and fell in the middle of the street. he was not struck, he just tripped and fell. when he was not getting up i thought the driver ahead of me might get out to render aid of some sort. he did not, neither did the oncoming cars. i was kind of incredulous. i got out (even though i was just coming from the chiropractor because i was dealing with some severe back pain). a man was laying in the street and i was having serious pain but i was going to get that poor guy out of the street if no one else was. i asked him if i could help and he said to call 911. he seemed not completely with it. i stayed in the street with him as i began to call trying to keep cars away from him. fortunately, an ambulance was nearby and EMTs were there in moments. meanwhile other drivers were honking. i was just stunned by the impatience of the drivers and that no one else made any effort at all.

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  13. That IS what they all say, isn't it; that they are not heros, but just doing what anyone else would do.

    Count me in as "thinking" that I'd respond in some positive way, but who knows. I think I can live without being tested.

    Thank God for those who DO react.

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