/2020chronicle

Who isn’t a “hero”?

This one’s gonna fire up the “Fox Holes”.  I might be chased down by patriots in pickup trucks covered in magnetic US flags made in China.

Today I thought of Chris Hayes, an MSNBC anchor who was forced to apologize for a statement he made in 2012 when he said he was uncomfortable using the word “hero” to describe all soldiers returning from active duty.  It’s an apology that was not necessary, pandering to the right all for the sake of media PR.  I’m pretty certain Chris Hayes isn’t genuinely sorry for his statement, nor should he be.  Veteran’s groups went crazy.  I suppose they feel all vets are “heroes”.  Pretentious arrogance anyone?

We are at a point where the word hero has become almost meaningless.  A young volunteer fire fighter who’s never been on a call to a fire: hero. A young EMT who’s never been on a triage call: hero.  Hey kids, want to be a hero?  Get any job in uniform.  Janitor may count at this point, not real sure.  Did I just compare our glorious men and women who serve in uniform to janitors?  Yes I did.  Because they serve in uniform.  Apparently that’s all it takes anymore to achieve “hero” status.  Many of today’s military “heroes” coming home from service were, in fact, janitors.  Stateside telecommunication personnel who saw the most action of their tour during basic training come out of the armed services instant hero’s.  I was at a college basketball game and actually heard an old man thank a young kid in uniform for “being a hero”.  Politely the kid said “thank you sir”.  I asked the kid, who was handing out brochures, what he did.  He was a stateside mechanic before becoming a recruiter.  Stay out of harms way there “hero”.

In the former Soviet Union the title of “Hero” was officially reserved.  If anyone was labeled a hero or called themselves a hero outside of state sanction there was a serious period of incarceration waiting for them.  to earn the title meant you actually had to do something heroic, like oh say… turn the tide of Nazi occupation during WWII.  The first Hero of the Soviet Union was Vasily Zaitsev who killed 225 enemy soldiers in 5 weeks.   Ya, he did a lot more than put on a government uniform and go to work.  So did those honored as hero’s from the US during that same era.  Perhaps for the sake of saving true hero’s from this soup of mediocrity we’ve concocted we should heed this lesson from the Stalinist, Communist era and quit abusing the only word we have in our language to elaborate true heroism.  Reserve it for the real hero’s and don’t dishonor them by equating them to janitors who passed basic training and put on a uniform to earn the honor.

Worst of all, we probably have recently discharged armed forces personnel running around the country right now who are full of themselves and their “hero” status despite having done nothing more than performing the duties of secretary or quarter master.  Many of them are returning to the states and going from “hero” to unemployed the minute they are discharged.  They should not embrace the word hero and we should not bestow it on them because unemployment wasn’t the case for those honored for true acts of heroism in previous generations.  We dishonor our nations true hero’s with our modern abuse of this word.

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