There aren't many people who stand out, except for Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama.
A lot of people list their parents, children, co-workers, teachers.
But there are almost no people in public life who are considered heroes/
Somehow, I'm betting that in the Muslim world, there are more people who are identified as heroes. I'll Osama Bin Laden is one of them, and Mullah Omar, the former head of the talkban.
The thing about heroes is they have to die and be reborn as a new person.
Maybe it's because things are too comfortable. Oh yeah, there'a lot of talk about all the heroic soldiers going over to Iraq.
Sorry. I don't buy it. Some are going to have fun bringing their violent videogame adolesence to life. Some are going because the sign-up pay is great and the re-enlistment bonus is better. Some are going to be loyal pariots. None of those reasons make them heroes- For the latter group, it makes them brave, but not heroes. A very small few become heroes when they find themselves in situations where they must make choices which transform them into new persons of heroic proportions. These are rare.
To become a hero, you have to leave your comfort zone. You have to go out on a limb and try out new things, go places youve never been before, make new allies, acquire new weapons. You have to face the risk of death headon and wrestle with some opponent, some antagonist so you almost die. And then you do have to diep-- well , some important part of you has to die.
A hero has to deal with his or her masculinity and femininity and balance them at a new and better level.
Being a hero is no fun romp. YOU don't just decide you're going to be a hero. You respond to some call that gets in your face and draws you to respond. And then, you are repeatedly discouraged by people and events in your life. But you don't quit. You don't give up. You don't despair. You keep on going. You have faith that it is your destiny, at least most of the time, and get throgh the worst times of doubt.
I am certain that suicide bombers are NOT heroes. Part of the job of the hero is to return home, to be able to bring his wisdom or newfound powers home with him and then to be able to stand firm and strong with a foot in each world.
A hero finds his or her new self, new power, new wisdom, new magic and then returns home to rescue his ordinary world. Some heroes never make it back home. They are lured or entranced by their newfound power and become mired in the new world, never having achieved their destiny, never having finished the job they set out to accomplish. Real heroes develop the ability to straddle both worlds-- their new, bigger heroic world and their old ordinary world.