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Have we devalued the term "Hero" ?

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  • Member since
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  • From: Pineapple Country, Queensland, Australia
Have we devalued the term "Hero" ?
Posted by Wirraway on Friday, December 27, 2013 2:32 AM

This has been something that has been creeping up on us for the past 20 years (IMO)  I blame the media mostly.  The term "Hero" has to stand for an individual act (ie: something "heroic")  Simply belonging to a particular profession should not (IMO) make you a "hero" simply for doing your job.

Dont get me wrong, as an ex serviceman, and current Law Enforcement Officer, I have a lot of respect for our men and women in uniform who put themselves in harms way.  But I would like the term "Hero" reserved for those who are actually "heroes" .  Aussie diggers are now returning from Afghanistan, their mission completed.  Are they all "heroes" as the media portrays ?  Certainly there have been many individual acts of heroism and selfless dedication to duty.  But I'm sure these guys and gals just see themselves as doing a job, not as heroes.  It bugs the cr*p out of me and I wish more people would speak out about it.

Does being wounded or KIA make you a hero ?  I read a lot of military history and in past conflicts, if you "copped one"  it was seen as simply being bad luck, a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Nothing particularly heroic about it back then, although any death or injury in war is tragic.  It certainly takes a brave individual to stick to their task when under fire, no arguement there.  I've seen some of the horrible injuries suffered by coalition troops and the fantastic efforts made by these guys to rehabilitate themselves and rejoin society.  Maybe they do deserve the term "hero".   Am I being too hard ?  What do you think ?

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Posted by P mitch on Friday, December 27, 2013 5:28 AM

Wirraway

I must say I completely agree that the term has been devalued. I hear the term so often in connection with people who play sports etc and that really gets me angry.

I can agree with you about the suggestion just because a person has in been in combat does not mean they have done something heroic. Respect for someone service is always there but putting your life on the line when its part of your job I don't believe makes you a "Hero". There are lots of stories of true Hero's and at time I think calling so many people Hero's devalues a truly heroic act.

Phil

"If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls." R J Mitchell


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Posted by wolfhammer1 on Friday, December 27, 2013 10:36 AM

What really frustrates me is when a sports figure is described as a hero.  SERIOUSLY????? They are highly paid entertainers.  I do not have much of a problem describing someone who goes in harms way to help someone a hero, even if they do not see themselves as doing anything but their job.  I agree that the term hero is overused.  We do need to come up with another term that has a similar meaning to describe our returning warriors and our public servants and reserve the term hero for someone who does something above and beyond the call of duty.  Just getting tagged in combat does not make one a hero, getting tagged because you put yourself in the line of fire to save a comrade does.  Just my 2 cents worth.

John

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Posted by JimNTENN on Friday, December 27, 2013 10:45 AM

I agree wholeheartedly with what everyone has said. I especially agree with John in that sports figures...and I would go so far as to say any celebrity or anyone else who gets paid handsomely to entertain and constantly be in the public eye, don't deserve to be called heroes unless they've truly done something to risk their lives to help someone else.

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Posted by Fly-n-hi on Friday, December 27, 2013 10:58 AM

I've had this discussion before and I completely agree. The word "Hero" gets tossed around way too often and loosely.  It most often gets used in the law enforcement, firefighter and military context. I'll use firefighters as an example:

They receive quite a bit of training to fight fires. They also use state of the art equipment to protect their bodies and help fight the fire. They fight fires in a very calculated way that limits the risk to their lives. They assess risks and do their jobs on their terms. They don't just charge into a building that's on fire throwing caution to the wind.

This is not heroic. Dangerous? Yes. And this logic can be applied to law enforcement and the military.

I had a firefighter buddy who told me one time he wouldn't eat at a certain restaurant. I asked why. He said it was because they wouldn't offer the firefighters discounts. I was like "seriously?" He said he was out there risking his life for those people and the least they could do was offer him a discount. I thought,"wow, you're an ***." I also thought "Yeah, their tax dollars are paying your over inflated union salary, so maybe you should give them a discount."

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  • From: Scotland
Posted by Milairjunkie on Friday, December 27, 2013 12:56 PM

I do perceive the overuse of the word, but I'm not certain that I have the knowledge to suggest that it's overused where the military, certain other vocations & situations are concerned. Some military personnel have to contend with & see things during the course of active duty that may not fit into the traditional vision of heroism, but I don't think that it necessarily excludes them from being heroes...

There seems to be a general trend towards exaggeration these days in the media driven world that we live in - fast cars have been called "Supercars" for as long as I can remember, but this title now seems to be inadequate with the top of the crop being referred to as "Hypercars" - If it's the "Ultracar" next, what after that?

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Posted by stikpusher on Friday, December 27, 2013 1:48 PM

I agree wholeheartedly. I am in the same boat and was actually thinking about this yesterday. What is bravery? What is valor? What is Gallantry? What is above and beyond the call of duty?  Those who put their hides on the line nowadays in a uniform usually have volunteered to do so. They are not there against their will. Most are well equipped and trained. At least in the "western world". Now I suppose that being willng to do so is bravery or courage. doing something that many can not or will not do.  But then comes the hard part. Where does it become true heroism, beyond just doing your job? One is expected to show initiative and come up with a solution to a situation on the spur of the moment, either thru training, experience or instinct. Where does it rise above doing the job expected? You know it when you see it happen. But the term has been quite devalued and way overused in mainstream media.  Not to put down all the good deeds done by many, but if there is not risk to life or limb, there is no heroism.  Courage and bravery are suppressing the fear for self preservation and doing the job at hand. But where do true heroics begin?

 

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Posted by GMorrison on Friday, December 27, 2013 2:03 PM

I disagree with you all, respectfully.

I think any one who places the common good above their own priorities is a hero.

I don't think the "media" has degraded anything, i general, but I think our way of living has become much more selfish.

Sports figures? Not in their day jobs. Doing charity work, yes.

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  • From: denver, colorado
Posted by waynec on Friday, December 27, 2013 2:25 PM

my definition of a hero is someone who risks his physical life, emotional life or financial life to protect innocents. a whistle blower may not be in physical harm but his financial life could be jepardized but he does it anyway because innocents are getting sick or dying. obviously a soldier who goes into a mine field to rescue children or other soldiers is a hero. someone who makes a game saving diving catch is not.

one can be courageous and not a hero too. someone with a serious disease who maintains a good attitude can be brave but not heroic (by my definition).

one can be a good role model but not be a hero and one can be a hero but a lousy role model.

and sometimes there is a thin line and a lot of luck between a hero and a fool. there is a story of a new LT in GOODBYE DARKNESS that describes it well.

i am a former soldier and certainly did nothing heroic. my service wasn't even a sacrifice.

"Nikto ne Zabyt . Nichto ne Zabyto.

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Posted by ajlafleche on Friday, December 27, 2013 4:31 PM

Use of the term hero for sports figures goes back as least 80 years to the song "You Gotta Be a Football Hero," written in 1933.

To the guy who begrudges his "friend's" inflated union salary as a firefighter, maybe he should start working swing shifts, enter burning buildings (even with maximum training) for a few months,  pull out the charred remains of a kid, show up at a home where a guy ate his shotgun, struggle to get a 600 pound heart patient out of a house and down a set of winding stairs, hold back a mother whose child can't be rescued.. climb a ladder wearing a hundred pounds of gear in hundred degree heat and -20 degree snow, , Maybe he should respond to a car crash (as happened in New Hampshire this week) to find his daughter was a fatality as a result of an apparently distracted driver. and see if he thinks his "friend's" the salary is so inflated.  Does the firefighter deserve a discount? I don't know, but I get discounts just because I've lived more than 55 years.

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Posted by Fly-n-hi on Friday, December 27, 2013 4:46 PM

ajlafleche

Use of the term hero for sports figures goes back as least 80 years to the song "You Gotta Be a Football Hero," written in 1933.

To the guy who begrudges his "friend's" inflated union salary as a firefighter, maybe he should start working swing shifts, enter burning buildings (even with maximum training) for a few months,  pull out the charred remains of a kid, show up at a home where a guy ate his shotgun, struggle to get a 600 pound heart patient out of a house and down a set of winding stairs, hold back a mother whose child can't be rescued.. climb a ladder wearing a hundred pounds of gear in hundred degree heat and -20 degree snow, , Maybe he should respond to a car crash (as happened in New Hampshire this week) to find his daughter was a fatality as a result of an apparently distracted driver. and see if he thinks his "friend's" the salary is so inflated.  Does the firefighter deserve a discount? I don't know, but I get discounts just because I've lived more than 55 years.

Whatever bro.  My buddy hasn't done most of that.  And love how that's the one thing you picked out of this entire thread.  I'm entitled to my opinion and its too bad if you don't like it.

And last time I checked he signed up for that job.  No one is forcing him to do it.  

You wanna discuss this more?  PM me about it and I'll be happy to continue this argument privately.  Don't turn this thread into what we all don't want it to turn into.  Please.

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Posted by the doog on Friday, December 27, 2013 7:16 PM

I could  NOT agree more! This has honestly been a pet peeve of mine for some time now. There's almost an obsession with calling ordinary people "heroes" today. I think it says a lot about our society--how TRULY we need REAL "heroes" today.

And by that term, I don't mean a guy who wins a medal in the war for bravery, or a sports figure who makes a game saving score, or a policeman or fireman who does something which their job requires them to do; i.e., saving a life, taking out a bad guy, etc. -- ALL these people are just doing what their job demands of them. What I mean is someone who stands on principle against a prevailing-but-phony ideology, or against this current self-serving sickness of deceit and corruption today in just about any position of authority that you can find.

I don't want to bring politics or religion into it, but the last person I saw that I could honestly call a "hero" today would be the current Pope. Yeah, I said that--those of you who know me will know how unlikely that is. But boy, does that guy has a set of cajones on him, and is he ever shaking trees! I got nothin' but respect for him! BeerYes

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Posted by pyrman64 on Friday, December 27, 2013 8:04 PM

ajlafleche
To the guy who begrudges his "friend's" inflated union salary as a firefighter, maybe he should start working swing shifts, enter burning buildings (even with maximum training) for a few months,  pull out the charred remains of a kid, show up at a home where a guy ate his shotgun, struggle to get a 600 pound heart patient out of a house and down a set of winding stairs, hold back a mother whose child can't be rescued.. climb a ladder wearing a hundred pounds of gear in hundred degree heat and -20 degree snow, , Maybe he should respond to a car crash (as happened in New Hampshire this week) to find his daughter was a fatality as a result of an apparently distracted driver. and see if he thinks his "friend's" the salary is so inflated.

Uhmmmm....as one who HAS done all the above, I take issue with your saying the guy's begrudging the over-inflated union salary.....as I mentioned, I've done ALL the aforementioned activities, and I did it while missing out on holiday dinners, family functions, missing my daughter's school activities, etc. and I did it without complaint.......for FREE as a volunteer firefighter/EMT!  BTW, I ain't a hero....I did what I was trained to do and because I wanted to help my community.

p.s. the firefighter that responded to his own daughter's fatal traffic crash in Nashua, NH was a VOLUNTEER - he was NOT paid.

p.p.s. of the 1.3 million firefighters in the U.S.ofA. roughly 80% are volunteers.

Greg H

"There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell." Gen. Wm T. Sherman (11 April 1880, Columbus, Ohio)

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  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Friday, December 27, 2013 9:23 PM

Guys, I didn't mean to start a heated thread.  

The point that I was making about my former friend and the restaurant he stopped going to was that he really believed that he should have been treated like a hero.  In his mind it was offensive that some restaurant owner didn't kiss his behind.  My point about the salary is that he certainly makes enough to cover a restaurant bill ( I think it was a Chipotle).

I think his attitude was like that because so many people in the media, or people within the firefighter ranks, keep feeding this notion that these guys are heros simply because they exist.

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Posted by stikpusher on Friday, December 27, 2013 10:01 PM

I dont like guys who expect to be treated like that due to our chosen profession. That being said, if I am on duty and going to a buy my meal at a local restaurant, I will often go to a place that has a history of giving discounts to us (cops) while we eat. Why? Not because I expect it, but because I like to make my money go farther. i always will have enough cash on me to pay full price, and I do  not expect the discount- but it is nice when it happens. That was one of many lessons drilled into me by my training officers. Now I know that some restaurants offer the discounts because they like having the security of having a few cops and the patrol car there much of the time- not too likely for them to be the victim of a robbery if a unit is there. probably worth any loss of revenue to them for discounted meals.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

  • Member since
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  • From: Phoenix, AZ
Posted by Fly-n-hi on Friday, December 27, 2013 10:30 PM

stikpusher

I dont like guys who expect to be treated like that due to our chosen profession. That being said, if I am on duty and going to a buy my meal at a local restaurant, I will often go to a place that has a history of giving discounts to us (cops) while we eat. Why? Not because I expect it, but because I like to make my money go farther. i always will have enough cash on me to pay full price, and I do  not expect the discount- but it is nice when it happens. That was one of many lessons drilled into me by my training officers. Now I know that some restaurants offer the discounts because they like having the security of having a few cops and the patrol car there much of the time- not too likely for them to be the victim of a robbery if a unit is there. probably worth any loss of revenue to them for discounted meals.

That's good.  And I'm not suggesting that restaurants shouldn't give discounts.  Heck, I'm all for it.  I just didn't like the attitude that my friend had about it.

Here's another entitlement story.  I fly for a major airline.  We, like most airlines, will move uniformed military personnel from coach to first class if seats are available and at the discretion of the flight attendants...its not automatic.

Well, one time, I'm standing there saying hello to people as they board and some military guy walks on board. I say hello and he says "Should I go ahead and put my stuff up here in first class or what?"  I said "Excuse me?"  He says "Well I'm in uniform so when do I get my first class seat?"  I said "Sir, that's a courtesy that we extend to military folks.  You get the seat when we offer it to you."  He kind of rolled his eyes and gave out an audible breath and proceeded to the back.  I thought "Well, you're definitely not sitting up here now."

True story.

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Posted by MikeyBugs95 on Friday, December 27, 2013 11:27 PM

Well... As many war veterans say: "The real heroes are those who did not return." But we all have our different definitions and views. I think the best way to define a hero is the sum of all our definitions combined.

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Posted by eatthis on Saturday, December 28, 2013 4:57 AM

i think the english language in general has been massively devalued by overuse of extremes ie epic awesome hero etc etc

 

snow + 4wd + escessive hp = :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7egUIS70YM

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Posted by tankerbuilder on Saturday, December 28, 2013 8:20 AM

Hi :

     I just popped in to say hi Ya'll and found this .Now my response is this .You want a real hero ? Here's one A fellow by the name of OZBOURN .He was a young MARINE in WW2.Yes he did his job ,and didn't consider himself anything but a Marine .Well , one day in a firefight he saw a grenade fall amongst his buddies .He did what he thought was right .He fell on that grenade to protect his buddies .Now did he have to fall on that grenade ?  NO, He really didn't .He could've tried to throw it back and he would've probably died anyway .But he gave the supreme sacrifice to protect his buddies .Now to me that's a Hero !

    The term is indeed misused . I don't consider a celebrity sports figure a hero .Nor a firefighter or policeman . Why ? well , they know they are getting in a position of going in harms way to do their jobs .They are everyday heros fo doing their jobs .Now a real hero ,well I think My info about Hero sums it up . ABOVE and BEYOND the call of DUTY. I wore two uniforms .Does that make me a Hero .No  that means I served with pride .and did my job .Now if I had died saving all the other 356 men on my ship from harm then I would be a hero .Not just " Doing my Duty . That's my take on it anyway .   Tanker - Builder

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Posted by subfixer on Saturday, December 28, 2013 10:56 AM

Definition of Hero

  • he·ro
  • [ heerĊ ]

  1. remarkably brave person: somebody who commits an act of remarkable bravery or who has shown an admirable quality such as great courage or strength of character
  2. somebody admired: somebody who is admired for outstanding qualities or achievements
  3. main character in fictional plot: the principal male character in a movie, novel, or play, especially one who plays a vital role in plot development or around whom the plot is structured

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Posted by panzerpilot on Saturday, December 28, 2013 11:09 AM

Yes, we have. I blame it on the news media and hollywood. They will loosely term someone as a "hero" who helps an old lady change a tire on the side of the interstate, etc. etc.

No. A hero is someone who saves a kid from a burning house, his platoon from annihilation, brings his plane in crippled and burning to save wounded crew, when he coulda bailed out. Stuff like that.

-Tom

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  • From: Goffstown, NH
Posted by New Hampshire on Sunday, December 29, 2013 8:40 PM

I am with all of you that have said the term hero has become so overused.  I am glad to see I am not the only one who gets angry as hell when I see athletes called heroes.  They are paid to play a game, and you expect me to gape in awe at a man who made an amazing catch?  C'mon, he is doing what he is paid to do.  If I get a job out the door quicker at work, or figure out how to save the company a few bucks, do I expect praise and universal accolades?  No, it is called a job.  It is what my employer pays me to do.  The only difference between me and Tom Brady is a few million a year.  Oh, and that he gets paid to play a game whereas I actually do something productive.  But I digress. Big Smile  I am also annoyed at our local news station for their Friday morning segment "Hometown hero" where they profile a local (to New Hampshire) athlete...college, high school, etc.  It is not that I don't want to rain on the parade of these young kids or anything.  But calling them heroes?  Sorry, not in my world.  In my world a hero is someone like, say, Martin Luther King Jr.  A man who lived for a principle and stood by it until he was murdered for it. 

And while we are at it I have another similar gripe.  The flag at half staff.  When I was younger, the flag went to half staff on those rare occasions that deserved it.  It seems like we drop it to half staff for just about anyone now.  I am forever driving by local and federal government buildings to find the flag at half staff, and 3/4's of the time I don't even know for whom it is at half mast for!  And in general I try to keep abreast of these kind of things.  So when even I can't figure out why the flag is at half mast (and around here it often seems to be about twice a month!) we have a problem.  And when it IS at half mast and I know who it is for I most times can't understand why.  I mean look at a recent occasion.  Now I respect Nelson Mandela for who he was and what he did.  But I can't say I think he was worthy of having flags brought to half mast, mostly because he wasn't even American.

It seems to me that we live in a society that is afraid of offending anyone to the point we now heap praise and accolades on those who are not doing anything really extraordinary. 

Brian

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Posted by stikpusher on Sunday, December 29, 2013 11:17 PM

Harrumph!!! Harrumph!!! Harrumph!!!! ;-)

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

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Posted by subfixer on Monday, December 30, 2013 10:24 AM

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Posted by eatthis on Monday, December 30, 2013 12:07 PM

you dont think mandela was worth a half mast flag? blimey!!

 

snow + 4wd + escessive hp = :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7egUIS70YM

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  • From: Sunny So. Cal... The OC
Posted by stikpusher on Monday, December 30, 2013 12:25 PM

eatthis

you dont think mandela was worth a half mast flag? blimey!!

Nope, I sure do not. Politics of Mandela aside, I do not believe that US flag protocol allows for half staff for a foreign national either. Sorry.

 

F is for FIRE, That burns down the whole town!

U is for URANIUM... BOMBS!

N is for NO SURVIVORS...

       - Plankton

LSM

 

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Posted by eatthis on Monday, December 30, 2013 12:34 PM

lol you do understand how insular you sound dont you?

 

snow + 4wd + escessive hp = :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7egUIS70YM

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Posted by Fly-n-hi on Monday, December 30, 2013 1:01 PM

eatthis

lol you do understand how insular you sound dont you?

lol If you really think about it your lack of understanding of US flag protocol, and calling stik insular because he does understand, makes you the insular one.

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Posted by eatthis on Monday, December 30, 2013 1:06 PM

im not american so i dont know the precise flag protocol.

but i do know that mandela achieved a huge amount and its generally accepted (over here at least) that he was absolutely the kind of person who deseved a half mast salute

 

snow + 4wd + escessive hp = :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7egUIS70YM

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  • From: England
Posted by P mitch on Monday, December 30, 2013 1:12 PM

From a quick search I've found out that the US flag can be flow at half staff at presidential degree or act of Congress so for Mandela that probably happened.

I do know there are some flags which can never be flown at half staff which are flags of Monarchs as soon as one monarch dies the next one is automatically King or Queen. I know over here in the UK as few years back with Diana's death people asked why the Royal Standard wasn't flown at half  mast. I had to point out its Half Staff and the Royal Standard never flies at half staff no matter who has died.

Anyway back to your discussion.

Phil

"If anybody ever tells you anything about an aeroplane which is so bloody complicated you can't understand it, take it from me: it's all balls." R J Mitchell


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