Revisiting Heroes

I have written several times about what it makes to be a hero. It is more than wearing camouflage and holding a flag at sporting events — though we are told that our armed forces are all heroes. In a sense they are (or at least some of them are)– in the sense that they are doing something they may or may not like to do in order to foster the greater good.

And we are now being told that doctors and nurses, indeed the entire “health care” family, are all heroes. And they are, though I am not sure we need to be reminded of it every few minutes on the boob tube. But those people put their own lives at risk to help people they have never even met, patients with a disease that can easily be spread to the care-givers and their families. These people deserve the title “Hero.” And it demeans their vital role in these times to make light of the risks they take, to dismiss the whole thing as a political ploy or insist that the danger is over-blown. The danger is very real and moreso for some than others — though we are all at risk.

But what about those who work for minimum wages at the stores deemed “essential,” such as grocery stores and the like? Those people come into contact with a great many people every day, people who may or may not be taking care and people who cannot, under the circumstances, keep a “social distance.” It seems to me that these folks deserve the praise that comes with the designation “Hero.”

To be sure we are verbally sloppy and use words loosely — such words as “tragedy” for example — and this applies to the term ‘hero.” Sadly, this demeans those who deserve our thanks and high praise. If everyone is a hero then no one is a hero.

But some are and we need to acknowledge the fact that there are folks out there in our stores trying to make ends meet on meager wages and risking their health in the process. Those who help others and in doing so take a risk are worthy of the accolades attached to the term “hero.” Those who wear camouflage and risk nothing do not.