The internet is in an uproar lately over discussions about what makes someone a hero. Is it the person who overcomes an internal struggle and achieves something personal? Is it the one who refuses to surrender in the face of adversity? Is it all of the above? A hero is defined as one who is admired for great or brave acts, or simply, a person who is greatly admired. Each organization has its own ways that people can meet those standards. In the military, it is often paired with valor – or courage. A valorous award is presented to that individual who demonstrated bravery and heroism in the face of the enemy. It can only be earned in a conflict, and falls under differing levels of medals earned based on the level of valor demonstrated.
The civilian side can display heroism in similar ways. Police, fire, and EMT representatives displayed true heroism on 9/11 when they raced to help their fellow countrymen. 341 firefighters, 60 police officers, 8 EMTs, and one police dog gave the ultimate sacrifice when the buildings collapsed. These are all heroes, as were the hundreds of volunteers who survived and continued to assist during the time of need. In the business environment, a hero can even be a boss who takes a pay cut to retain employees, or who does not give in during a hostile takeover. So it should come as no surprise that there is an active discussion and even disagreement on what makes someone a hero.
Recently, Donald Trump, a presidential candidate, informed an audience that John McCain was not a hero because “I like people who weren’t captured.” For the many things that John McCain can be accused of being, referencing a service member’s capture during a time of armed conflict in a negative way is a poor direction for a presidential candidate. There are obvious exceptions to this guidance; the case of those captured while in the act of deserting is one example. That is not the case of John McCain though. He was on his 23rd combat mission in Vietnam when he was shot down. Through years of torture and persecution, John McCain stayed true to himself, his military and his nation, even turning down an early release based on his father being an admiral.
Can one be a hero for simply facing adversity? Absolutely. Can one be a hero for resisting in the face of extreme pain and refusing to surrender what they believe in? Without a doubt. The beauty of heroism is that it is always in the eye of the beholder. We should honor our service members for their sacrifices, pay respect to those both mentally, physically or emotionally lost to the ravages of war, and support those who gave all for this nations call. Dishonoring prisoners of war is a crime that affects the lives of us all. As a nation, as a military, we stand shoulder to shoulder for those who cannot and remember those who were captured or missing as our brothers and sisters in arms. Anything less, would be cowardly.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.