According to Wikipedia a Hero is: “one who displays courage and self-sacrifice for the greater good.” Heroes are among the most interesting of human beings. History is full of heroes who have often saved the day. Because of our world’s current state of affairs, with the looming COVID-19, the idea of Heroes has again come to the forefront. We currently recognize all front-line healthcare workers who are tackling this threat to our health and economy as present everyday Heroes. Many Heroes live among us today; do you know one? Who is your hero and why? What qualities does a Hero possess?
To me personally, a Hero is an individual who utilizes courage to do the right thing at the right time, in-spite of danger to themselves. They always make a major impact on someone else’s life regardless of difficult circumstances. Many adjectives may be used to describe the qualities of a hero. They include courage, creativity, intelligence, joy, patience, perseverance and strength. For me, my Hero has always been my Dad, who served in both WWll and the Korean War. At this time of the year I can’t help but reflect on his profound dedication and give thanks for the time he served. As pictured below he was stationed in Okinawa Japan, collecting intel as a CIA trailblazer. He was courageous, adventurous, deeply committed and truly heroic!
Heroes could also include mentors to children and adults who struggle greatly in life. Their time, money and emotions are invested far above and beyond the “normal.” Heroes inspire us, amaze us, influence us, and do things we sometimes think are impossible. The definition of a Hero depends upon one’s perspective and any given individual’s needs.
Could heroes even include non-humans, such as animals who have played an important part in saving lives during fires and floods? Over time, history has documented stories of such animals, including dogs and horses, who have saved their owners from a variety of dangers or disasters by exhibiting feats of bravery. Many stories have been written about police or military dogs or even animals used in service for the disabled. There are certainly many more heroes than we may initially realize. Here is a link about a small brave Mongolian mare with the heart of a lion who served with the Marines during the Korean War. Her name was Reckless. https://www.sgtreckless.com/Reckless/About_Reckless.html
We see many admirable qualities in the superhero films. As children we may have often pretended to be superheroes while at play. Take a look at the many Superheroes pictured below. Pick one, it’s always fun to imagine! Who is your favorite superhero?
Historical books and films remind us of the bravery of many past heroes, including a number of famous women. Many of us are familiar with the stories of Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Amelia Earhart, and more recently, Katherine Johnson, whose role in the 1969 landing of a man on the moon was recently depicted in the Hollywood movie “Hidden Figures.” Another civilian female hero was Irena Sendler, who during WWII volunteered to work in the Warsaw ghettos as a plumbing and sewer specialist. Although of German descent, she knew of the Nazis’ diabolical plans for their Jewish captives. She repeatedly smuggled small infants to freedom in the bottom of her toolbox. For the larger children, she often helped them escape in burlap sacks that she carried home from work. Training her dog to bark at the Nazi soldiers concealed the children’s cries and voices. For years the soldiers wanted nothing to do with this woman and her barking dog. Before the war had ended, she successfully smuggled 2500 children out of Warsaw, saving the lives of each. When she was finally caught by the Nazis, she was severely beaten, and both her arms and legs were brutally broken. We should never forget the HOLOCAUST in which 6 million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests were murdered, massacred, burned, raped, starved and humiliated!!!!
Today we recognize many heroes during the current pandemic which threatens millions of lives, as well as our very way of living. There are many passionate, humanistic stories contained within the current despair. We currently see our healthcare workers and first responders acting bravely while battling the Coronavirus daily. In leaving the security of their own homes to take care of others in the hospital, Doctors, Nurses and all healthcare workers exhibit immense bravery. These people have chosen jobs which directly serve humanity regardless of circumstances. Ask any healthcare worker and I’m sure they will humbly tell you their own lives have changed for the better because of the patients they have met and cared for. Many lessons are learned along the way. Lessons in compassion, humility grace, love and sacrifice as well as the joy felt in helping others.
Additional people behind the scenes of these frontline healthcare workers are often not seen, but also play a major role in developing new protocols daily and helping fight this threat. Some re-engineer the practice of healthcare, developing new medicines, mobilizing equipment such as PPE and ventilators and supporting the frontline providers. Their assistance helps avert further suffering in the overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients. It takes many people working cooperatively to control the pandemic. Each member of the team performs their own individual task for the greater good.
Last but not least, I would like to especially recognize my fellow nurses in this blog, as they are closest to my heart. This hardworking group of people have redefined what is possible in healthcare when challenges occur. Many times, I have seen Nurses show teamwork and creativity in-order to get the job done for their patients. During this pandemic, creativity, stamina, and commitment have been exhibited by many, including Travelling Nurses going into the most dangerous areas such as New York City. They responded while ill-equipped, and poorly prepared, risking their lives while trying to save the lives of others. They should be voted the “BEST” by Time Magazine as Person of the Year!
The acts of kindness and the beautiful spirit displayed nationwide by volunteers serving workers food, making masks, and holding prayer sessions, have shown an array of newly appreciated resets in our modern-day world where previously only desensitization and apathy existed. There has been a cleansing of the hustle, bustle and materialism in our world which is gradually now becoming a more compassionate one. Since the onset of this pandemic many people have reflected upon what is most important in their lives. Many have established healthy goals hoping to change themselves and their world.
And finally, not all Heroes need be adults. They could even be children who do their best to learn and accomplish something new. My book Toddler Tootsies Take on The Day! is meant to inspire children to develop healthy habits, increase their self-esteem, learn about reaching for goals and thus making a change to their world for the better. Sometimes learning and applying what one has gained in-order to give back makes being a hero as simple as that! You can be a Hero; you can be the best of our world!
All Hands on Deck as Matt and Mattie remember the Heroes and Heroines who have fallen and those who have sacrificed to allow us the opportunity to live our lives to our fullest in a land of peace and freedom.
Happy Memorial Day 2020!