What is an American hero?

Heroes are people we look up to, people we admire and people who set examples for us. They are people noted for their courageous actions, for their special achievements in a particular field.

In legends, a hero is a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits.

Throughout history, almost every story from the beginning of time has a hero, be it religious, mythological, a folk tale or factual history.

The fact is, heroes are needed for everyday life. They’re role models for us to live by. They are the voices we hear when stuck on a problem and they are the time we set our lives to.

But sadly, we stand today at the doors of uncertainty. It is not easy to spot a hero anymore. The picture is blurry and we often look in the wrong direction, like to television where we find celebrities, hip-hop artists, models, actors and actresses, singers and dancers who make millions of dollars, are famous and are beautiful. Does that make them heroes?

On TV we find athletes in the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, Olympic teams and so on. They carry our name in what seems to be a battle of one city against another. Our national teams, in the Olympics and otherwise, rage wars of sports against other countries.

These athletes raise our name and wmake us cheer. In triumph we celebrate and in loss we grieve. But do we take them too far?

Are they to be considered heroes for handling the ball better than you or I? A permanent hand should be waving at this question to be answered! What qualifies a person to be a hero? Can we compare a celebrity to George Washington or an athlete to Albert Einstein?

I guess that is why heroes are role models. People choose role models-they don’t choose us. So if I choose an athlete to be my role model, than in a sense, he is my hero. Is that what the American public has done?

Today, thank God/Allah, I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think people look to athletes as heroes. I think more people have looked to President Bush as a hero.

Some have looked to Michael Moore as the advocate of truth and their hero.

John Kerry could be the one to save the world for another group.

For me (and a minority of people in America), my hero is Muhammad, who lived 1400 years ago.

But the true American heroes of today, whom I think we should all share, have yet to be mentioned.

The first is the American soldier. The soldiers are not heroes for their money, fame, ball handling, size, pretty faces or luck. They are heroes for their courageous efforts in protecting their county and freedom. They risk and sometimes sacrifice their lives for causes and beliefs we take for granted.

Although I don’t think our beliefs and causes were by any means threatened by Iraq, I still salute them. Even though the war was a mistake, and our soldiers have killed thousands of Iraqis, many cannot do but what they have to do.

Many soldiers don’t want to be in Iraq and they don’t agree with President Bush and his administration. But what can they do? What would you or I do in their place?

The second hero, in my point of view, is the educated American. Knowledge is power and freedom, and it is what makes America what it is. I salute all Americans who have committed the time and effort to educate themselves and contribute to the well-being of society.

Educating ourselves about the world we live in, about our so-called enemies and about the causes of world problems is ultimate freedom.

If people educate themselves and investigate what information they receive, they will disseminate it and pass it on.

I can see the early lights of hope as the dawn of true freedom approaches. I salute the free people of our nation and its soldiers for what they do and what they have done.

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