January 14, 2012

My Friend, My Hero

Superman has always been my favorite hero. When I was a child it was because I had an overwhelming urge to fly. To see the world from a vantage point bigger than my own. He wasn’t just strong; he fought for people who couldn’t fight for themselves. He was a superhero.

When I was a teenager I liked Superman because I enjoyed the actors who portrayed the indestructible man of steel. He represented a set of ideals and morals that I myself felt were important, but wasn’t exactly sure how to follow. He was a superhero.

I’m 23 years old now. No longer a child, but not exactly an adult either and I still like Superman. I still have the childish urge to fly, I still think the morals they make the fictional character portray are important, but in my eyes he’s no longer a superhero. Why doesn’t he rate superhero status anymore? Well, now that I’ve grown up and been out into the world I know what a real superhero is.

I want you to take the time to stop what you’re doing right now and look around you. I mean really look at the people around you and I guarantee you’ll see a real hero not far away. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They aren’t bullet proof; they don’t wear capes or have dual identities. You walk by them everyday and never even take notice. At this moment there are 6,470,818,671 people in the world. Out of those people, thousands maybe more are your average, everyday, ordinary, superheroes.

We go through life day in and out working, complaining, blowing off family and friends, taking advantage of what we have because we can. We’re all guilty of it. We don’t acknowledge those who protect and nurture all the things we hold near to our heart. When’s the last time you went up to a police officer and thanked him or her for keeping your town safe? For ticketing a speeding car that could be driving down the road while your child plays outside? When’s the last time you shook a firefighters hand and praised his bravery for running into a burning building, risking his life for yours, while he could very well have a family waiting at home for him?

A life for a life…isn’t that the saying? What about E.M.T.’s or First Aid workers? We’ve all had an emergency at one time or another. In this day and age 95 percent of the time a response is immediate. People thank doctors, nurses, surgeons, but how many thank the men and women who got them to the hospital on time? Without them you wouldn’t be alive to thank the doctors.

Everyone has their run of bad luck especially in this economy, but has anyone thought to thank the people who spend their time, effort and money organizing donation drives, food drives and putting together shelters for families in need during this time? Where would this country be without the battered women shelters, homeless shelters, church organizations, food banks, salvation armies and all other organizations geared toward reaching out to the community?

I’ll tell you where we’d be. Nowhere. What about the men and women who fight for our country. Some Americans believe in war, others don’t. I respect that because the great thing about America is our freedom. Freedom to live and believe in what we want. The same freedom our troops give us. Does supporting the people fighting for our rights mean supporting the war? No. It means showing the people who stand up against those who threaten our way of life respect. Have you ever seen a man or woman in uniform and thanked them for risking there life so you don’t have to? Maybe you should.

These people, all of them go about their everyday lives never asking for a thank you, always taking what life throws at them and in doing so they save lives. You don’t realize how a small action, a thank you, an appreciative gesture, a smile can go a long way.

In New Jersey 452 police officers have given their lives to protect the streets we live on in 2008 alone. Over 25 firefighters have lost their lives in N.J. the past two years. New Jersey has lost 71 men and women to the war overseas. When is it enough? It never is. As long as people, things and life threatens us their will be men and women who stand up for what America means.

They don’t do it for the money, they don’t do it to impress people, they don’t even do it to be considered a hero. They do it because it’s the right thing to do, because someone has to serve and protect. These men and women are the real superheroes, not the cartoons you see on T.V. They are under appreciated and overlooked, but hopefully they won’t be anymore. It’s important to let them know that what they do matters, that we appreciate them.

Having said that I want everyone reading this to go out and find their hero. Go into your community and do something to show your appreciation for the people who contribute to our society. It doesn’t have to be something huge, just something, anything. Well? Do you have your superhero? Because I have mine and he’s truly amazing, way better then Superman. Want to know why? He’s real…

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