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Some Thoughts on This Week’s Heroes

posted Mar 26, 2011, 3:50 PM by Golden Knight

By Chris Ferro


Defining a hero in modern American culture is a difficult task. On one end of the spectrum there are people like Charlie Sheen who publicly humiliate themselves for the sake of attention. On the other end there are soldiers in Iraq who live, fight, and die each day in the name of liberty. It seems that in the 21st century the former example fits the definition of “hero.” But does it really? Does a man who claims to have “tiger blood” have the guts to endure a firefight? Does a man who claims to be related to Adonis have the courage to search through a burning building for any survivors?

If a celebrity was to switch places with your average citizen for a day, maybe they could see the true definition of a hero. Maybe they could witness the daily agony of a firefighter, policeman, or janitor. Maybe they could contemplate their own actions and, for once, keep their lives to themselves.

As amusing as Charlie Sheen may be, I no longer enjoy seeing his face daily. The sad reality is that if the earthquake and tsunami didn’t occur in Japan, we’d still be subjected to his miserable life. The lead story on the news would still be “what Charlie Sheen said today”. Luckily, reality obscures the unreal. Which is more real: the whining of a grown millionaire or the suffering of thousands of Japanese villagers?

It is unfortunate that people need a reminder of what life really is. Most of the world doesn’t care about Charlie Sheen or his antics. The reality is that most of the world undergoes harsh tragedies and we do nothing to make them better. We sit at home poking fun at Charlie Sheen, and I am one of those people. I was closely watching his every move. For a week I had forgotten about reality. I had forgotten about what a hero truly is like, then the earthquake off the coast of Japan hit. It was soon followed by a devastating tsunami that inundated everything in its way. I woke up. The world of our designated distractions is but a dream. Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, Auschwitz, Chernobyl, Pearl Harbor, Haiti, and Japan are the realities.

Thankfully, with every reality comes a hero. To me, the people living in Japan at the present moment are heroes. They have witnessed close relatives die and have watched their homes float away. They have searched through the rubble trying to find any fellow survivors. They know what real blood looks and feels like, and as a result, they are the ones with tiger blood.

But let’s not forget about our local heroes: the men and women who voluntarily devote their time to people they’ve never seen or met before, the martyrs who love their fellow human beings, and the heroes that search the rubble (alongside the Japanese) just for the hope that someone might still be alive. These people are related to Adonis, and I don’t care how much money Charlie Sheen donates to the earthquake/tsunami relief fund, because he doesn’t know what it is like to step into their shoes. He doesn’t understand that no amount of money can assuage the pangs of despair. The damage has been done.

In a few months the tragedy in Japan will fade away into the shadows of other natural disasters and newsworthy occurrences. In a few months the American public will be subjected to the daily whims of celebrities and non-heroes alike. Another disaster will then unfold in some unexpected area of the world and the wheels of reality will turn once again. The heroes are the one constant in all of this. No matter the time, area, or situation they will be there, and they will heed the hero’s call.