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Please show me a real hero

When my son was about 16 he put up a poster of Che Guevara on his bedroom wall. Being a cold warrior who served 4 years in the Strategic Air Command, I was naturally alarmed, but hid it to inquire about his reason for this objectionable show of admiration.

“Che was cool!” was his retort and he punched the stapler in the bottom left corner to finish the installation. I was careful to inquire how much he knew about the man and of course it was very little and honestly, he thought the guy simply looked cool with his wavy black hair.

I gave him a piece of advice I picked up somewhere and it has been a mantra of mine for years. “Be careful who you make into a hero.” In wartime, the difference between a hero and a coward is one solitary action and it may swap the very next day. On top of that, hero status can change drastically.

Take the modern day hero Ronald Reagan for instance. Reagan is often cited as an example of what a real president should be, but I well remember back 30 years ago, people hated that guy. I hated him.  I was laid off from Arco Chemical because of him and I had a “for life” job. Over the years he has become a symbol of doing everything right.

Mahatma Gandhi is another person people love to sing his laurels, but according to the Bible, he was worse than an infidel because he would not care for his own family. His wife would beg him to keep just enough donations that they could eat, but he gave it all away and refused his own children an education. Please don’t take my word for it.  Research it for yourself.

Al Gore was lauded as a hero for bringing to light global warming and Barack Obama for giving the world hope to the point that they were both awarded Nobel Peace prizes.  Both were major failures on nearly everything they promised.

I am not insinuating that there are not real heroes. We are surrounded by them and don’t realize it. No, they don’t sell millions of records, play professional sports, or win Academy Awards. They are those of us that awaken to an alarm clock and get up and go to work every day when we hate every second of it.

It is that mom or dad that corrects their kids when they do wrong and teach them how to behave properly in society. They parent their children by “imposing restrictions” so their kid isn’t a jailbird by the time they can drive. Heroes sacrifice their own lives so others may succeed. If you get nothing more out of this column than that last statement, I have made my point.

Men and women who work 60 plus hours a week so their family can have a few extras and do it year after year are real heroes to me. They change stinky poopie diapers, or tend the sick, or “drag them kids” to the dentist on a regular basis. They dog their children at school and refuse to let them drop out. They set standards and enforce them.

No, a hero isn’t that big guy that can bench press 500 pounds or the woman who wins a national title in a bathing suit. It isn’t the comedian who can make millions laugh or the musical artist with the raunchiest lyrics. Its guys like my friend Don Cunningham who puts his heart into writing daily parables to lift up those around him. It’s Ken Pridgeon who paints with a labor of love all those military heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Unfortunately it has become politically correct to erase the history of some heroes of our country and it is a scary path I hope we do not continue to go down.  A hero of mine is Ben Franklin and in a lot of ways, old Ben was not a hero, but we live a better life because of his scientific experiments.  Did you know Ben Franklin is regarded as the greatest scientist of the 18th century?

Ren Fitts is a hero to me. He is an advocate for Veterans and an unselfish one too. Although battling 100% disability from the things he suffered in Vietnam, he is quick to help any veteran obtain their benefits. He has enough ailments for ten people due to the war, but is so encouraging that I see him as an example of how people should be.

I recently had construction work done at my house by Duane Peterson and his crew. This is the second time I’ve hired him and his attention to detail in a time when no one wants to give you a smidgeon of service bumps him up to near hero status. Is it just me or does anyone else want at least what we are paying for?

Be careful who you elevate to hero status especially in front of your kiddos. Some of these folks stink worse than poopie diapers. It just takes time for them to ferment.


Anonymous said…
I knew her. Single mom. Two kids under 5. Old trailer park off Jensen which is all the budget allowed. Up at 4 am to walk to Airline to drop her boys off at the nursery then walk to North Loop to work. Reverse trip after work. Home by 7:00 pm. 73 cents for a can of Ravioli from the corner store, a 1/2 glass of milk each. Lights out and an acapella lullaby of Carol's 'Way Over Yonder'. Finally her time alone. Ivory dish soap from the kitchen sink made a fine shampoo and body wash. Slip the sturdiest chair under the front doorknob then a quick search for the moon out the dusty bedroom screen only to see the next trailer 12' away. She was then blessed to slip between the thread-bare but clean sheets with a deep sigh that melted into a deep sleep. I've seen the fruit of her labor. She nurtured and reared men who are heroes to their own wives and sons.
Thank you for reminding me about her. I need to give her a call. And, I need to say thank you to another one I know who gets up before dawn to search his heart and soul to write and share thoughts that make me search my own to their edification.
Anonymous said…
BAM: This may be your best writing.
Anonymous said…
Loved this piece Bert. I so agree "They are those of us that awaken to an alarm clock and get up and go to work every day when we hate every second of it."
I have no respect for those that will not work.....Debi
Anonymous said…
Melvin Roark: I agree with you on this topic, good article.
Anonymous said…
Deb Hearn: Agree - this was so well written.
Anonymous said…
Ren Fitts: Bert, to me , the Hero's are those will step up and write columns of items that others may not take a chance on writing because it doesn't fit their political agenda.. Bert you are a Hero to me and many others because you will take a subject and express your or majority views are... I am not a Hero, all I do is what my Military Oath was to God & Country and to my brothers and sisters who serve our country and our communities...Many during Vietnam era served in many lands to protect our Freedoms or our Allies, many were in Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Germany etc and all were in areas of hazards, but many back home never heard the actions going on due to some Americans only looked at Vietnam war and wanted it ended, and those stationed state side kept all of us overseas provided with our mail, ammo and Rations... All are my Hero's for doing their jobs .. Like you Bert, I was trained and educated to do a job for my country and I have had the Honor to see many lands with some of the best American military troops ever... Salute to all.... Was a great day going to the VA yesterday with you and now a whole new world of your earned benefits will open for you and yours... thank you for using your writing skills to help and educate others... God bless... Ren
Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎
Bert, excellent column in The Baytown Sun today. I'm not just saying that because you mentioned me, but I do appreciate the great compliment. It was very, very good, and so very true.
Anonymous said…
Barbara Pugh I think this is my favorite so far of any. So very true...and everyone should realize the truth.
Anonymous said…
James Connealy: Great post Bert. A message more parents should pass to those that think heroes are in sports, Hollywood or on TV.
Anonymous said…
Sandi White: Wonderful column, Bert! I have no real issues with the sex lives of others, but to proclaim Bruce/Caitlin Jenner a Hero confuses me. I grew up thinking Alvin York, Audie Murphy, Abraham Lincoln and the like were heroes. Amelia Earhart and Florence Nightingale were heroines. A shame that the truly great are thrown in with a crowd of the trivial to create a swarming mass of the mediocre.
Anonymous said…
MM: Absolutely perfect.

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