Essays on the Theme of Heroism

Heroes in Modern Society

by Kevin from New London

The concept of a hero is one that must be explored as the times change and the definition of hero becomes vague and the people who are viewed as heroes vary across a wide spectrum of personality and accomplishments. In modern society, anyone from Michael Jordan, to soldiers in Iraq, to pop singers, and historical icons are considered heroes to the American people. But where is the line between a role model and hero? Has society changed so much that our perception of a hero is tainted and altered? With the media’s influence in society and the way they portray celebrities and other high-profile characters in society. Real heroes of today are not the pop-culture superstars but rather those who risk their lives for the benefit of others without any reward. Not since the attacks on America in September of 2001, has America’s youth finally started to return to the true sense of what defines a hero.

People often times confuse who they call heroes with the people they look up to. Role models are people to look up to and strive to be like. There are millions of role models throughout the world who affect individuals on a personal level as to make them better. Many celebrities and superstars are considered role models because of their positive actions for a charity or history of a rough background. Heroes are much more difficult to find because it takes a certain selfless character to determine a true hero. The days of Heracles in Ancient Greece as a hero is somewhat the same scenario as role models are today. Heracles did not do anything to benefit mankind out of selfless action. Instead, he is someone the Ancient Greeks could look up to and model their lives off of his. This is similar today with people such as athletes or famous celebrities. They gain a great deal of profit by being the high-profile people they are which attracts attention from the public. Modern day heroes are the people who returned to the World Trade Towers on 9/11 to rescue more people even though they knew their lives could very well end any second.

This line between hero and role model is extremely vague, especially in the youth today. Society today does not provide the definitions of heroes or their stories for the people to read and feel for themselves. Society and the media exploit the rich and powerful through their negative characteristics to sell stories and lies throughout the country. Even the most selfless people in the world can have their stories twisted by the media to show the wrongdoing and further exploits. Are heroes really the football players on the field, actors on stage, or the politicians in the world? Or are they the hard-working selfless people who may not be nationally known but make a difference to individuals on a basis that no one else can reach. These people rarely get the front page headlines or the media attention on TV, but they make the difference in one or two lives which in turn may have a ripple effect of positive actions throughout the world.

The word hero is overused in society on television and in movies, to portray almost any person who does something good in the world. It takes much more than this to have the effect of a hero. One good deed does not necessarily mean someone is a hero. A hero must drastically affect another person’s life for the better which leaves a lasting impression. In an interview with my brother, age 16, he states his hero is Carter Beauford, drummer for the popular Dave Matthews Band. My brother is a drummer as well and is moved by Carter’s life and rise to success (Interview. Samuel). This could constitute a hero, but it is in fact someone to look up to as a role model in life. Very few of the so called “heroes” of society can claim they are completely selfless in their actions. It is a difficult concept to obtain when we live in a society that characterizes many people as heroes. To truly find a hero you must dig into the daily lives of individuals to find the true meaning of hero. They are found in someone’s family, in the military, or they come out of nowhere and happen to do the right thing at the right time. This devotion to mankind can only be classified as a hero versus a role model who does not perform actions solely for others.

To me, a hero has to fit all these models of selflessness through their actions. Heroes in my life are not people that have personally affected my life which I consider to be a significant aspect to the concept. Heroes in my eyes are the brave people who kept climbing to the top of the World Trade Towers on 9/11 to rescue more people as they were collapsing. They had no regard for their own life and only for the lives of others. They made the ultimate sacrifice for fellow man; to me this is the complete ideals of a hero because they did not seek any type of fame or reward for their actions. Another example of a hero for me is the members of the military deployed throughout the world. They make the sacrifice of their individual lives for the greater good of the country and the protection and preservation of freedom. They spend years away from their families and loved ones to live on a ship or in a hole in the ground to protect the people of the United States.

My sister, age 13, has been affected by the events of September 11th as it has been the first devastating national event she has experienced. She feels her heroes are the men and woman overseas, fighting the war on terror (Interview. Joanna). This is a different mind set that since 9/11, many more of America’s youth have followed. From Support the Troops wristbands to flags on overpasses of highways, a shift back towards military heroes. These soldiers and sailors never ask for anything in return, they only ask what they can give to the country and its citizens. These two different types of heroes are the ones that touch my heart as people who deserve the respect, admiration, and title of a hero.

The youth of America today has a different view of the sense of heroes. With the pop culture icons this line between role model and hero becomes extremely vague. This distinction has become a lot better since 9/11 and more low-paid citizens are recognized as heroes such as firefighters, policemen, and military members. September 11th did affect the hero atmosphere throughout the country helping America’s youth. The younger generation of America had not experienced a traumatic national event until 9/11, which leads to blindness of heroes in the celebrity world (Interview. Gary).

This line between a role model and hero has become closer in recent years but society still ingrains through the media, the lucrative athletes and celebrities that show how glamorous and exciting their lives are. Although there are high-profile people out there who have made a positive impact on people’s lives, a true hero is one who has exhibited complete selflessness in a situation and concerned themselves only with others.

Page created on 5/12/2006 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/24/2019 12:06:26 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Extra Info

Kevin Edes has just finished his junior year at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut. He is 21 years old and is a native of Bedford, New Hampshire. Kevin attended Bishop Guertin High School where he was a Varsity starter on both the football and basketball teams. Kevin is an Eagle Scout and this summer Kevin will be in San Diego, California performing counter-narcotics operations on board the CGC ZEPHYR. Kevin has played on the Coast Guard Academy basketball team for the past three years and after graduation would eventually like to be the Commanding Officer of his own patrol boat. Kevin is the oldest of two brothers and a sister.