Recently I was asked to participate in a local authors event in support of our military veterans, providing assistance in adaptive housing, equipment, and other gap type services not funded by the VA. The commitment is minimal, in comparison, and the rewards to the vets are potentially big, so I said yes to one in April 2012, and a second when it is organized. It is an honor to be asked, and my pleasure to help out.
But it begged the question, what makes a Hero? My heroes were my sports idols when I was younger. The way Bobby Orr redefined the way hockey was played, the class and grace defined by Carl Yazstremski of the Red Sox, and the unwavering dedication to hard work and the pursuit of excellence embodied by Larry Bird, all meant something more in the way they rose to every challenge.
As I grew, I learned all of the traits I found to be heroic changed and became embodied in my father. Dad worked long, hard hours in his own business, and rose again when it failed. He put forth every effort in pursuit of the better life he wanted for himself and his family, putting himself second to all of us. I think these are just some ways to look at what makes one a hero, and perhaps it is , after all, a very subjective observation.
I read the works of my fellow writers on this site, and I see some contrasting styles amongst all the main characters. Aaron Lazar's Gus is a thinking man's hero, with his focus, like my father, on the wellbeing of his family and community at large. Marta Stephens' Sam Harper is a darker version, driven by a sense of justice in the face of all obstacles, while Kim Smith's Shannon Wallace is the fish out of water who learns to conquer her fears. All are different, but all are heroes.
So I ask you, my friends and colleagues, what makes a hero to you? I would love to hear your opinions, and will keep my eyes open for them.