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A medal for heroism, with a question mark

Brave. Bold. Daring. Courageous. Adventurous.

Meaningless meanings.

Let me explain – being brave, showing courage, boldly going…. all of of us can do these things, indeed, many seek out experiences to prove and show off these attributes, but are these people heroic?

I have personally received commendations for bravery and courageous acts. Was I a hero? I don't believe so – just doing what I was trained (and paid) to do. Unwilling to see strangers being harmed, and in a position to help.

Putting oneself in harm's way to save others is often seen as heroic, but my point is (and I do have one) that truly heroic acts show something that goes far beyond being brave or bold or adventurous.

True heroics tend to be selfless acts. Doing something for another living being or thing, without any thought for personal harm (or gain), not caring if we ever get recognition or reward for our acts – that is truly heroic.

Sportsmen and women, artists, actors, all may be called 'our heroes', but they do their respective things for a reason. Money, fame, to be world champions, win an Oscar etc. Looked up to, top of their fields, but heroic?

Anyone who has put on a uniform and served their country, or their society, are brave certainly. A sense of public duty, definitely. Some pay the ultimate price to uphold the peace or serve the laws of the land. Brave and courageous certainly, but all seek to serve, not thinking their acts to be Heroic – just Right.

Same for those who fight fires, respond to emergency medical situations, responders flocking to help in natural or man-made disasters, rescue people from seas or mountains, brave souls, we respect and thank them all.

Again though, is this heroism or civic duty and vocational calling?

Ask any nurse or doctor at this time of pandemic. Tired, overworked, underpaid, frightened, but determined to do their best, do their jobs, glad for the respect and appreciation of us all, but mostly, modestly reluctant to be called heroes.

But rest assured, there are true heroes out there, selfless heroes, often hiding in plain sight.

Battling daily with struggles many of us would simply crumble beneath.

Unsung heroes. Never complaining. Never seeking recognition or reward. Simply doing what needs to be done, heedless of their own needs, always looking to the welfare of others, without any recognition, payment, reward, or even thanks.

Take a good look around. I'm sure each and every one of us knows a real hero.

I have my personal heroes, truly heroic human beings, and I will be grateful to my last breath for their selflessness. Thank you.

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