What Is a Hero?

From Oliver North, American Heroes:

For some, a hero wears a spandex suit and a cape. My heroes wear flak jackets, flight suits, and combat boots. …

My tattered old Webster’s defines hero as a “legendary figure … endowed with great strength and ability … an illustrious warrior … a person possessing great courage.” There’s another important characteristic of heroes: they place themselves at risk for the benefit of others….

Yet, in our celebrity-worshipping culture, the word hero has been corrupted to embrace all manner of people who simply aren’t heroic. Record-setting athletes, diamond-studded rappers, auspicious movie stars, and intrepid adventurers out to be the first to accomplish some never-tried feat of daring aren’t heroes. They may be brave, they may have overcome all odds before making it big–but they don’t meet the definition of hero if whatever they achieve benefits no one but themselves.

Real heroes are selfless. Those who serve in harm’s way in this war have that quality in abundance. And so do their families and loved ones at home. Yet they rarely get the attention, coverage, or press they deserve.