Who are the "Real" Heroes of September 11th?
Each man is a hero and oracle to somebody.
There has been much bruhaha over "Heroes" of 9-11 in the news.
There are many Definitions of Hero at Dictionary.com, but the one I like is:
A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
There is much made over the "value" of the term "hero." Can everyone be a hero?
Was everyone on Flight 93, which was forced down over Pennsylvania, a hero? (Can we ever know?)
Were they different kinds of heroes than the office workers at Cantor, at Aon, at Marsh? Than the bus-boys at Windows on the World?
Who is a Victim?
- One who is harmed by or made to suffer from an act, circumstance, agency, or condition: victims of war.
- A person who suffers injury, loss, or death as a result of a voluntary undertaking
By the logic of these definitions, everyone killed was a victim that day. I think that is clear, understandable, and also proper. No one (except the hijackers) intended to be killed on that day. That doesn't diminish or exclude their possible hero status.
Can we somehow rate the "hero-ness" of people?
I have an great admiration for the passengers of Flight 93, who fought back and changed history. There was a heroic story there - I wonder if I would have been found as worthy had I been in one of those seats. Do they all deserve the medal of honor that has been worn by Winston Churchill and Thomas Edison? Something to think about - something to debate. I don't have the facts to judge this.
I know the rescue workers I honor daily were heroes because they were doing their jobs, all the while knowing the basic job responsibilities can lead to a sudden, painful death. That's what being a fireman, cop, etc is about. The nobility of the fireman, policewoman, EMS worker just doing their job is underrated, and the jobs underpaid in this country on a daily basis. But others disagree - they think these folks were just doing a job, and knew it could happen. These folks claim the rescue workers should get no special status. While that is their right in a free country, I disagree.
Who deserves honor? (Esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation; respect; consideration; reverence; veneration; manifestation of respect or reverence)
It should be clear that I honor the memory of those killed on that day, in all locations and situations.
What of the regular folks that made it out alive? The Everyday people - are they heroes to go back to work? As the Song goes:
I am no better and neither are you
We're all the same whatever we do
You love me you hate me
You know me and then
Still can't figure out the scene I'm in
I am everyday people
It takes great courage, after living through that kind of experience, to "go about your business." I have friends in therapy, on Prozac or similar substances, just getting by day to day, 12 months later. There is a quiet dignity to being able to go to work, support your family, and make it home.
I honor those folks in a different way than I honor the dead. But I do honor them, knowing what it takes to be one of them.
As for me, the only medal I deserve to get for putting on my suit and going to my office every day is the smile from my wife and kids. That's what I want, it's what I deserve. It is an honor to strive for.
The 11th will be for me a day to remember the dead, honor their memory, and also to find time to honor the working man and woman, heroes or not.