This I Believe

Peter - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on November 20, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: family, hope, humanism

“One brave deed makes no hero”

We all have a definition of a hero, whether it is based on courageous acts or simply the wisdom and fortitude to do what is right. It is my belief heroes possess and display the highest level of charity. Without charity people would not do heroic deeds. “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” Charity is a way of life for the hero I speak of today. Most true heroes do not think of themselves as such. It is an extreme honor to know a hero.

My heroes have changed over the years, because my perception of what a hero is has changed. These heroes have included my dad “the man who could lift one hundred pounds with one hand his toolbox” to Thor the Nordic God, from the comics, to Raoul Wallenberg, the man who single handedly saved thousands of Jews from the Nazis.

The definition of a hero is just as complicated as knowing why heroes do what they do. When we understand the definition of a hero we can comprehend the why. My definition of a hero is a person who has many traits and a foundation from which those traits arise. The foundation can be one of religious beliefs, family upbringing, and survival instincts, just to mention a few. The traits I speak of, are virtues, and they have everything to do with the character of the individual. These include but are not limited to charity, compassion, courage, kindness, and perseverance.

The hero I speak of over the years has set an agenda for helping others in need regardless of oneself. With six children at home this person took in a dying mother-in-law to nurse. This level of compassion is unheard of today; besides, most people don’t think of such an act as heroic. This hero never complains about anything and sees the so-called burden of helping others as being given the opportunity to ease their burdens. The hero I speak of broke the chain of prejudice that goes from one generation to another by not displaying prejudice. Prejudice and fear go hand and hand; we use hatred to hide our fear. The hero I speak of would not allow violence towards women long before such behavior was out in the open where society felt a need to intervene. The hero I speak of always displayed random acts of kindness long before it was fashionable, or after it went out of fashion.

Many people may say that this does not constitute heroism but merely a nice person. I cry No! In Frank Capra’s movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” George Bailey was given the opportunity to see what life would be like without his presence and what impact his life had on an entire town. With the exception of saving his brother from drowning, when they were boys, there were no “brave” acts in George Bailey’s life. The hero I speak of always put others first, by doing so, I place this person first as my choice of heroes.

I have been blessed to fully appreciate what a hero is and to know one. I would like to say thank you Dad for being a true hero.