What is a Hero? Essay Sample

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What is a Hero? When people are asked this question they tend to go right to a military response, “A soldier in combat that goes above and beyond, risking, and sometimes giving, their lives to save others”. I believe this comes to play from the actions occurring on September 11, 2001 when America’s view of heroism changed from superheroes to soldiers, firemen and policemen. But are soldiers, firemen and policemen the only heroes? Do you have to be in combat, or run into burning buildings to be considered a hero? The answer to this is no. This is just one example of a hero. People’s view of a hero varies greatly. A child’s hero may be a comic book superhero, a purely imaginary character, while a teen may choose a famous actor or musician. What causes this choice? Many factors may play a role in how a person sees a hero. It may be they are seeing the “hero” as a role model they can look up to when times are rough. Or as someone who is always there protecting the innocent from violence as found in superhero comic books.

Do you have to have superpowers or incredible talent to be a hero? While some people may think so, let’s look at the unsung heroes like the teacher who may go out of their way to assist a student to understand a subject, or the parent who reschedules an important meeting at work so they can attend a child’s play at school. They have no superpower or incredible talent, but to the student who was successful in his class the teacher is a hero. And the child, whose parent put family ahead of career, instilled a sense of priority that the child can emulate throughout life. So what makes a hero? A person who puts others first, is unselfish, a leader, and is humble are all traits of a hero. Marine sergeant Dakota Meyer, the latest Medal of Honor recipient, insists he is not a hero. Tobin, M. (2011, September 15).

Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, America’s first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War, says the heroic actions he undertook in Afghanistan are as brave as what every American soldier experiences day in and day out during their tours of duty in that country. Martinez, L. (2010, September 13). Both of these men have received the highest award for heroism, and yet they both humbly say they did nothing heroic. While Staff Sergeant Salvatore and Sergeant Meyer are the epitome of heroism, we must not overlook all of the other heroes that we encounter every day. Heroes aren’t all famous like the movie stars or athletes, or placed in the life threatening positions of the soldiers, firemen and policemen. Some heroes are just ordinary people who have the courage, determination, willingness and unselfish desire to help someone who is in need. The teacher who stays late to tutor, the father who works extra shifts to help buy a special gift or cover a need of a family member, or the person who stops when you are stranded in the rain are all heroes as well.


Martinez, L. (2010, September 13). 1st living Medal of Honor winnner since Vietnam tells his story. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from (Online Exclusive): http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/abc-interviews-medal-honor-recipient/story?id=11625753 Tobin, M. (2011, September 15). Medal of Honor winner is reluctant hero. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from http://foxnews.com/us/2011/09/15/memorials-set-as-ex-marine-gets-medal-honor/

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