Thursday, March 4, 2010

What Is A Hero?

As my previous post says, I have been reading lots and lots of blogs and websites in a somewhat vain attempt to prepare myself for Army life and "how to" be an appropriate and well-loved Army Wife. Not that I want other soldiers to wish they had Private Ryan's woman, and not that I want other Army Wives to want to be me ... but I want to be good at it. I want it to be a life that my family thrives in, and I want to be a wife my man can be proud of. Army or not. But because Army life is so different than civilian life, I'm studying because that's what I do.

Lately I have found lots of pretty thought provoking things, like my post yesterday with the scary wife getting to me a little. Then I found another blog that I really liked and could relate pretty well to the wife/author. I am an empathetic person, better able than some to put myself in another's shoes and get a feel for what they go through. I like her, I really do. She is a great voice, very open about her thoughts and feelings ... but she subscribes to the same military spouse thought process that freaked me out about the first blog with the poisonous chick. She thinks her husband is "better" than other soldiers, better than enlistees of other branches even, because he has been in Iraq. Because he has survived through a "real" deployment.

Now, I know that men like him have sacrificed greatly in their service to our great country, and I know this from an almost eyewitness perspective. My best friend Jessica saw her man board a plane more than once to Iraq, she slept alone while he was gone and waited daily for his calls and emails. She became nauseated if she was standing outside and a car drove by that she knew was on it's way to notify a family that they had lost their soldier. She prayed fervently that the fallen hero wasn't hers, also praying that by some miracle, that fallen soldier wasn't anyone else's either. She dreaded hearing the doorbell ring, and she managed her entire household on her own. Sher nursed every illness and booboo, she watched every news broadcast, and she packed every lunch, she planned every outing, she moved by herself, and she two children on every vacation. All this because her man was at war, working hard to capture criminals and make the streets as safe in Iraq as they usually are in America. He rode in convoys, he busted in doors ... perhaps he even pulled a trigger to save his own life so that he could return to the family who loved him and waited for him to come back. Yes. He is a hero.

But there is another soldier on another Army post or Air Force base or wherever, and this soldier deserves to be thought of as a hero as well. He is the one who watches the radar screens all night, making sure the skies are safe. He is the one who patrols in a military police vehicle, making sure the streets are safe. He might even be the one cooking or cleaning behind the scenes where no one really sees him or notices him. But is he less of a hero? I don't think so.

The definition of hero says, "a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities". This is the first man, my best friend's husband and others like him, the ones who have looked a suicide bomber in the eye knowing that one of them would not be going home alive, the one who has busted in doors with no idea what they would find on the other side other than "it will not be good". This is a hero, a man of distinguished courage and ability. I admire him for his brave deeds and noble qualities ...

But like most other words, that is not the only definition listed. It also says a hero is "a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal". Now, whether the cook has been to Iraq or not, and whether the medic has worked in an American hospital or a foreign war zone ... aren't they still heroes? I believe that they are, and here is why. That cook that means nothing? He may have been the one who kept your war hero fed while he was at Boot Camp. And the medic? Today he might work in a hospital that is mostly safe on American soil ... and this afternoon a PTSD victim might shoot up the place. Then again, another hero from war might come home injured, and that medic could be the one who helps to save the injured soldier, could be one who talks them out of depression or fits of anger, could be the one holding that injured soldiers hand in the middle of the night because no one else is there to do it. That, to me, is a hero too. A person who has heroic qualities and has performed a heroic act in their service and is regarded as a model or ideal.

Then again, what do I know? It also says that a hero is "the bread or roll used in making a hero sandwich".