It’s not the Cape

Recently, Glenn Beck has been lamenting an experience he had with his son, Raphe, who, I gather, is around five years old.  He had been discussing “heroes,” and  referring to regular men.  Raphe looked at him and said, “They’re not heroes, daddy.  They don’t fly or wear capes!”

This statement really bothered Glenn.  He worried aloud that we don’t have heroes anymore, except for the ones on the Silver Screen.  That when we find heroes, we strip them down,  we do our level best to destroy them.  We have to teach our children about heroes, he said.  We have to teach them that heroes don’t fly, they don’t wear capes or have supernatural powers.  Heroes are regular people.  He is saddened that his little boy doesn’t understand that.

But I submit that it’s ok that Raphe doesn’t understand that yet.  He understands the concept of a hero.  He understands that a hero is a guy that stands up when everyone else has fallen.  He is the wall in the face of the storm.  He is the rock that all others cling to.  But little kids don’t get that.

Consider these pictures:

Male Heroes

dog heroes big

Amber Lady Heroes

Through the eyes of a child, which ones are the heroes?  Superman, of course.  And UnderDog, and Wonder Woman.  Because they’re flashy, they can fly and do cool things.  They have capes!  But as that child grows, he will understand that those things are trappings.  That what makes a hero lies behind the eyes, and in the heart…

Marcus Luttrell, Navy SEAL: Team 10, the “Lone Survivor” of Operation  Redwing.  Sent to find one of Osama Bin Laden’s henchmen, the team found themselves betrayed by three Afghanis.  Luttrell and his partners fought the waves of Taliban fighters that assaulted them, eliminating around 100 of them, but during the fight, a Chinook helicopter and her 16 crew, sent to rescue the Team, were shot down and killed, and the rest of Luttrell’s team was killed.  Luttrell, alone, survived to tell the story.

Todd Beamer organized the passengers of United Flight 93, fighting the terrorists that hijacked the plane, ultimately causing the plane to crash in a field in rural Pennsylvania, rather than into the buildings for which it was intended.  There is no counting the number of lives that Mr. Beamer and his fellow passengers may have saved.  Todd’s last known words were, “Let’s Roll.”

Capt. “Sully” Sullenberger safely landed his Airbus A320 aircraft in the Hudson River when the engines blew out after hitting a flock of birds.  There were no fatalities and only minor injuries.

Honey, a five-month old English Cocker Spaniel puppy who was in an SUV with her owner when the vehicle went off the road and tumbled into a ravine, landing upside down.  The driver of the vehicle told the pup to go for help, and she did, running to a house approximately ½ mile away, and attracting the attention of the owner, who followed Honey to the scene of the wrecked vehicle.   Honey saved her owner’s life that day.

Kankuntu is a mutt who thinks he’s a lion.  On a boat ride with his owners, their 41-foot yacht was being hijacked by pirates when Kankuntu attacked the invaders.  Despite being shot and stabbed by the attackers, he fended them off… and then made a full recovery.

Junior, a 14-month old Shih Tzu, who smelled smoke in the middle of the night and barked until her family and their six guests were roused from sleep and safely outside the burning house.

Sgt. Kimberly Munley, the officer who arrived on the scene at the recent Ft. Hood shooting.  She moved quickly into the scene and engaged the shooter, firing four shots and bringing him down, but not without suffering gunshots, herself.

Hermine Santroucschitz (also known as Miep Gies) hid the Frank family, as well as other individuals and families, for two years while the Germans occupied Holland during WWII.  In addition to keeping their secrets, she was charged with finding food for the families in a world where food was a dwindling resource.

Rosa Parks, on December 1, 1955, gave a face to the struggle for Civil Rights by simply staying seated on a bus when a white man approached her and requested her seat.  Her quiet protest earned her the title, “mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”

None of those people… or dogs… set out to be a hero.  With the exception of Marcus Luttrell and Kimberly Munley, none had been specifically trained for the position they were in, none ever expected to be where they were, doing what they were doing.  But all stood, in the face of fear and uncertainty.  Facing possible punishment or even death, and bore the responsibility gracefully.  That is what makes a hero.

And as Raphe, and all of our children grow, they will learn that the cape is there, you just can’t see it.  It’s part of the Hero Thing… going incognito.

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14 Responses to It’s not the Cape

  1. Joy says:

    What a great post Laura. It makes me think that we need to point out these “everyday” hero’s to our young people and praise them more often than we do. If they grow up hearing it, they will learn it. It’s okay to have the Superhero’s too but the real “everyday” hero’s should be acknowledged more.

    I also feel every member our our military is a hero too. There are a lot of hero’s in the world that we just don’t talk about nearly enough.

  2. DM says:

    great post Laura- thanks for taking the time to put this one together.

  3. SKL says:

    Thanks for the reminder that we need to make a greater effort to teach our kids about real-life heroes.

  4. mssc54 says:

    Laura this is a very good Blog post. Thanks for putting it into words.

    I have often thought of “heros” and what makes a hero. Are heros born or are they cultivated.

    Since the my son-in-law (Sgt Buddy James Hughie) was KIA by a Taliban sniper in Afghanistan I can’t help but notice how losely the term “hero” is thrown about. I believe that it is not the clothse that make the hero but rather the action taken by the individual that makes the hero.

    Our American Hero was awarded two Bronze Star medals with Valor and a Purple Heart medal for covering 300 meters of open ground to get to and save the lives of two Afghani Army National soldiers. He did not have to take that action and in fact he was pretty much hung out to dry by his fellow service members. Buddy and the others knew the risk of death and while others chose to stay hunkered down (safe) Buddy faced down the enemy to save wounded soldiers on the battlefield.

    Ironically this post is published on Veterans Day. Today comes with mixed emotions for us. On the one hand our grief remains profound but on the other hand our pride in Buddy’s heroic actions remains high.

    • Joy says:

      Ironic is right mssc. When I published this for today I wasn’t even thinking of it being Veterans Day. We couldn’t have planned this better if we tried.

    • Laura says:

      I thought of your Buddy, while I was writing this. I grieve for him, and for your hurting heart, but every day, I think God for sending people like him. He, and they, are the best of us.

  5. Gary says:

    What an AWESOME post Laura!

    MSSC54 said it all in this sentence……”It is not the clothes that make the hero but rather the action taken by the individual that makes the hero”.

    Cheers to that!

  6. nikki says:

    Yes very fitting for today! It’s a heart warming post Laura..thank you very much for putting what we all as adults know, into words. I plan on having Bailey read this. 🙂
    To all those who have served, risked their lives and have ran into danger as everyone else runs away…thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  7. Ginger says:

    Just finished reading “It’s not the Cape”, and, yes Laura, it was “a good read”. A good read is good because it is written with sincerity and honesty…..well done! I really mean this, and not just because I’m your mom.

    One of the comments stated “every member our our military is a hero too. There are a lot of hero’s in the world that we just don’t talk about nearly enough”. Amen to that.

  8. Sue says:

    Wonderful post! It is so well written and really makes you stop and think about heroes. I think it’s ok too that Raphe doesn’t see a hero yet the same way his dad does b/c it’s part of growing up and learning.

    “And as Raphe, and all of our children grow, they will learn that the cape is there, you just can’t see it. It’s part of the Hero Thing… going incognito.” Sums up everything perfectly!

  9. Jim says:

    To read about every day heroes visit this web site:
    You can also sign up to receive the stories for free as they are published. I have been on his mailing list for several years now.

    It is a safe site, he is a big time anti-spam person.

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