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What Does It Take To Be A Hero?

Every time I see this I have Shrek's "I Need A Hero" song playing through my head. (It's a highly catchy song I recommend you go listen to it!) Sorry, let's continue.

These days, the title 'hero' is being used for acts that may be courageous to some degree, but by no means a hero. It's too much that the term is starting to become watered down.

They should be reserved for those who have gone above and beyond their call of duty to protect and serve others. Who will selflessly give their own lives even if it means just saving ONE soul. Those that are willing to risk it all. Whose actions have rippled change, not just in their community, but their nation and then the world.

I want to share a story about a hero that I came across last year in a really good book called The American Patriots Almanac. It goes over many heroic people and their accomplishments. This girl, Betty Zane, just amazed me at her bravery. During this incident, she was only 16 on September 12, 1782. The British were known to encouraging and joining Indians attacking forts. Surrounding Fort Henry was about 250 Indians and 40 British soldiers.

They were not ready for this attack and already began to run out of gunpowder on the second day of the siege. The girl volunteered to run out amongst the enemy. Her theory was that she was a girl and they wouldn't give her trouble running away. Her real problem would occur trying to come back.

Just about sixty feet away were some cabins where other settlers were hiding. She would have to dash across the field, possibly having to dodge shots. They opened fire when they saw her, thinking the sackcloth she was carrying already had gunpowder in it. But she did it. She made it back into the Fort, just barely evading multiple shots. With her bravery and courage, their fort was able to fight back and win one of the last battles of the Revolution.

I honestly was floored that a young girl, took into account the desperate situation, knew the dangers, knew her strengths, and was willing to sacrifice it all to help. This leads to another historical figure that stood out as well.

Martin had left Cherokee, Iowa in 1917. He was a barber there but enlisted in the Army to fight World War 1. He wrote this pledge as a New Year's resolution. He was killed carrying a message under heavy artillery fire. He took his duty seriously.

"My Pledge"

"America must win this war. Therefore I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone." By Martin Treptow

I think I'd like to hold a high standard for those who reach the status of 'hero'. We aren't lacking in heroes nor will we ever. Sometimes there are situations or actions that just scream "BRAVERY!" "SHOCKING!" "HUMANS CAN DO THAT?!". Let's admire the great feats that people have done and accomplished for others.


The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America

by John Cribb and William J. Bennett

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