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Where Our Heroes Have Gone

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In today's economically challenged times, people everywhere are looking desperately for someone to step forward as a hero of the people to move them out of the trials and tribulations which have been cast upon them by those who are supposed to be representing us.  They wait and listen patiently to the campaign rhetoric and occasionally believe the words of those who only make promises for their own gains.

Today, hard working, honest Americans are finding themselves victims of a system which favors the few and have found themselves instead of reaping the benefits of security from their work, suddenly cast out into a world which they never imagined they would have to suffer within.  Searching desperately for an answer or a savior to help them through this tragic time, they have come up empty and can only pray to whatever material fabrication or ethereal manifestation of a God to save them. These people are looking for a hero: A person or group of people to make their lives more bearable and bring them out of the situation they are in but very few have found one.  Or maybe they have just not been looking in the right places.

Too many times I have heard the phrase, "There are no more heroes".  It seems that the people who speak of this void are those who live in the world of comic book lore or in a fantasy land of their own making in their definition of what a hero is.  When one thinks of a hero, it is only natural in this media absorbed, escapism obsessed society to imagine Superman or even Wonder Woman or, in the most delusional state of their desperation; a politician who really cares for them but today, real heroes are defined not by uniforms and governmental titles of materialist emptiness but by selflessness and dedication to society's real needs. Believe it or not, these people are all around us and at no other time in the past several decades in the history of this Nation, have we needed them more.

Webster's Dictionary defines a hero as a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.  Very few times have I had cause to say Webster's is wrong in it's definitions but now, I can say with absolute certitude that they are.  Today's heroes are not mythical nor are they always legendary; a hero is an individual or organization who takes time to give of themselves their dedication to causes and efforts to benefit their fellow inhabitants of this world without direct desire for retribution or recognition.

If you want too see our modern heroes, take a trip to your local soup kitchen and meet the people serving food to the homeless and counseling them through the difficult trials of their tortured lives.  Say hello to the volunteers at a Woman's and Children's Abuse Shelter or go to a local Church where people donate their time to help families in crisis.  Go to a public park and shake the hands of the people serving food at their own cost to the many lost souls who have fallen victim to the greed of our governmental representatives and their corporate financiers. 

To see heroes that have gone to the last of their breathe to serve us all, visit a Veteran's Memorial or Graveyard where they are by the thousands, buried and immortalized after serving in a war not of their choice or making but died in service to their country.  Take time each week or holiday to say hello and meet the men and women of the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Peace Corp or Unicef and thank them for their selfless contributions.   

If you want to meet heroes, go to a Big Brothers and Sisters center and thank the people who take time out of their lives to mentor a child who has had a troubled home life.  Go to a Special Olympics event and meet the coaches and coordinators who take time out of their everyday lives to allow challenged people to feel important in this physical perfection obsessed world of ours.  Take a moment in your lives to understand that all of these people are true heroes in not only what they do, but in the example they set for all of us and our children. 

There are no legends or mythical people anymore to call heroes and there never were. These kinds of people do not and have never existed.  Instead of looking to the clouds and searching for salvation through fantasy, maybe we all need to become heroes in any way we can.  It doesn't take epic powers or mythical prowess to volunteer at a hospice or a food bank.  Neither does it cost you anything to volunteer a few hours a week to read to the blind or deliver food for meals on wheels.

Take your children to the Ronald MacDonald House or a Church benefit to serve your fellow men and women.  Go to food drives or charity auctions and have your children involve themselves in this process of humanitarianism.  Not only will you be heroes in the eyes of those you would help, you will be heroes in the  eyes of your own children.  And as these little people grow, they too, will become heroes of their own or at the very least, appreciate the reality that at any time, we can all find ourselves homeless or struggling where we too may need that help.

Heroes are all around us.  Some wear nurse's uniforms while others, tee shirts while coaching little league baseball in a downtrodden neighborhood.  Heroes take many forms and no where is this more important than as a parent or as a mentor to the next generation and the generation soon to pass from this earth.  Take time out of your life to give to others for a hero has never been defined by the actions of self interest or self absorption. 

This world's struggling peoples, our fellow travelers through this life, now more than ever need all of us to be heroes. Who knows, maybe the next time you hear someone asking the question, "where have all the heroes gone", you can answer them by simply saying, "right here".
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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)
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