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“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” (Confucius) Anyone could just give up, but heroes keep going. It takes courage to keep going while others stopped, and I believe that heroism is to realize the needs of you or someone else and trying your hardest to fulfill those needs, that it is not giving up, even when it is believed the odds are against success.
First, that’s look at heroes who are motivators, meaning that they keep pushing themselves into higher and higher level and are willing to inspire others. Not only is Michael Jordan one of the best basketball players of all time, but he is my hero. I look at Michael Jordan as my hero because of his hard work in his early life and his achievements in the game of basketball. He reinvented the sport of basketball with his unbelievable skills. Everything he has done in his life is an inspiration to children since he has tried harder when he has failed.
Children look up to Michael Jordan because of his success at basketball. He shows his heroic characteristics by going to schools and talking to children about continuing in school no matter what. Children look up to him since he is a famous basketball player and they listen to him about achieving in life. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team which motivated him to try harder. His life is an inspiration to his fans and others proving to them that they should try harder.
Another person who falls under the definition of hero is the guy without limbs – Nick Vujicic. Imagine getting through your busy day without hands or legs. Picture your life without the ability to walk, care for your basic needs, or even embrace those you love. Without any medical explanation or warning, Nick was born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without arms and legs. Nick Vujicic uses all that he can find within his mind and environment to obtain the goal of helping those faced with mental or physical poverty. His resourcefulness seems to never end. During a speech of his, Vujicic tried to send one of his messages home by summarizing a scene of his life, ”Every single person on earth has imperfections… When I was a child nobody knew that I could do a lot of things. I used whatever was available, even this little foot.’” Vujicic understood how his disabilities put him at many disadvantages, but he didn’t want his life to be enveloped in the gloomy light of depression. He could ‘swim, play football, and golf’. At a first glance, Vujicic exemplifies someone who can’t do anything, but he didn’t let these judgments put him down. He used all he could with all he had to make the best out of his challenging life. Vujicic’s ability to use all his disabilities as a factor to improve his own and other lives magnifies his resourcefulness in making the best out of any situation.
Motivation is what defines a hero, because it provides the drive for people to accomplish their goals, maintain their responsibilities or solve problems. Motivation can be created or re-sparked by looking at one’s goals, assessing the stakes of achieving those goals and creating milestones as well as personal rewards for gaining progress.
Big challenges need to be faced instantly, and heroes aren’t afraid to do just that. Growing up in South Africa under the Apartheid system of government, Nelson Mandela, instead of bowing down to this unjust system of government, he became a lifelong warrior in the battle to free South Africa. Even while he’s in prison, Mandela continued to be a beacon of hope for his people who carried on the struggle against Apartheid in his absence. In 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela was released. Within five years, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and elected president of South Africa. Mandela is known as a hero due to his willingness to die for his beliefs, the sacrifices he made of personal freedom and watching his children grow up during his imprisonment, as well as for his ability to forgive his oppressors.
Amelia Earhart lived in Atchison, Kansas. Her parents were Amy and Edwin. She had a sister named Muriel who was called Pidge after a blue pigeon in her favorite song. She didn’t have a very happy childhood, for her father was an alcoholic. When she became a teenager in World War One, she served as a volunteer nurse. After the war, she enrolled as a pre-med student at Columbia University. Although she was doing well in school, she went back to California to be with her parents. One day she went with her father to an ‘aerial meet’ and went on a ten minute flight over Los Angeles. At that moment, she knew that flying was what she wanted to do. She saved money for flying lessons, she trained hard, and she did it. She was courageous, otherwise she wouldn’t have finished her quest to fly the plane herself. She is my hero because she did what no other woman had dared to do. She became the first woman aviator in the world to try to fly around the world. She made it easier for other women to go out and do things only men had done.
Fear is a secret everyone shares and no one wants to talk about. Everyone is scared of something, even the people we view as the strongest in our lives have, at one time or another, been fearful. Courage can turn your fear into an asset rather than a hindrance, all depending on how you use it. The first step to conquer fear is to face it, and then turn your fear into a motivator to achieve your goals.
Heroes don’t always have to be famous. For example, Stanislav Petrov, a former member of the Soviet Union. In 1983, Petrov held a very important station: As lieutenant colonel, he was in charge of monitoring the Soviet Union’s satellites over the United States, and watching for any sign of unauthorized military action. This was the Cold War era, and suspicions were high – on September 1st, the Soviet Union had mistakenly shot down a Korean aircraft it had believed to be a military plane, killing 269 civilians, including an American Congressman. The Soviet Union believed that the United States might launch a missile attack at any moment, and that they would be forced to respond with their own arsenal of nuclear weapons. Several weeks after the airplane disaster, on September 23rd, when “suddenly the screen in front of me turned bright red,” Petrov told BBC News. According to the system, the United States had launched five missiles, which were rapidly heading into Soviet territory. The U.S.S.R. was under attack. All Petrov had to do was push the flashing red button on the desk in front of him, and the Soviets would retaliate with their own battery of missiles, launching a full-scale nuclear war. Luckily, he didn’t. He said,” I didn’t want to make a mistake. I made a decision, and that was it.”
Petrov demonstrates heroism because he’s cool head and he didn’t make the final decision before finding out what actually happening. He carefully studied the system, and he see no evidence of five missiles coming to their territory. It turns out to be a false alarm, and thanks for Petrov, millions of lives were saved.
Another example of silent hero is Dakota Meyer, a former Marine Corps corporal in war of Afghanistan. On September 8, 2009, near the village of Ganjgal, Meyer learned that three Marines and a Navy corpsman, who were members of Meyer’s squad and his friends, were missing after being ambushed by a group of insurgents. Under enemy fire, Meyer entered an area known to be inhabited by insurgents and eventually found the four missing servicemen dead and stripped of their weapons, body armor and radios. There he saw a Taliban fighter trying to take the bodies. The fighter tackled Meyer, and after a brief scuffle, Meyer grabbed a baseball sized rock and beat the fighter to death. With the help of Afghan soldiers, he moved the bodies to a safer area where they could be extracted. During his search, Meyer ‘personally evacuated 12 friendly wounded and provided cover for another 24 Marines and soldiers to escape likely death at the hands of a numerically superior and determined foe.’ His act of selfless heroism has made him the first alive US Marine to receive the Medal of Honor during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Dakota and the others who had joined him knelt down, picked up their comrades and — through all those bullets, all the smoke, all the chaos — carried them out, one by one. Because, as Dakota says, ‘That’s what you do for a brother.’ Every member of our team is as important as the other. That’s a lesson that we all have to remember — as citizens, and as a nation — as we meet the tests of our time, here at home and around the world.
When writing this essay, I realized that the performance of heroic acts not only benefit the people for whom they were performed, but also the individual who performed them. The “hero” will see life differently, not because of the fame, if any, gained from the act, but knowing that they are capable of performing a service to either themselves or others that is meaningful. This empowers them, making them recognize their strengths and ability to problem solve when others have failed, or given up, before even trying. There is no one definition of a hero, but I hope that I have the courage to rise to the level of heroism if ever I am called a “hero”. And what does it mean to be a hero for you?
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