rocket tracking


Monday, September 20, 2010

Patriots and Heros

Last Saturday, my mom went to the hallway and got the flag out. With great determination she went out to put it up. "What's up?" I asked.

"It's Patriot's Day, " she said. Patriot's Day? For someone who lived in New England more specifically Massachusetts, Patriots' Day was held in April, the Monday on or near April 19 commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord. I must have been asleep at the wheel because I didn't realize that Congress had designated September 11th as "Patriot Day." I wish they had chosen a different name, unless, of course, that Congress wants wants us just to display patriotism, not necessarily remember people who died in the terrorist attacks that day.

Lest you think that I'm being a vile and horrible person for even suggesting that perhaps it is inappropriate, let me first say that it seems that in the modern parlance, we have forgotten the meaning of "patriot" and "hero." It bothers me that we refer to football players as "heros." Being good at your sport doesn't qualify you in my book. Perhaps you can aspire to the skill and ability that these players have, but a hero is someone who does something selfless for which you look up to them. It has come to mean just someone whom you admire. Here's how Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines a her0:

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage
a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
plural usually heros : submarine 2
: an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

So, yes, the modern use indicates the 4th item as applying to the players...right after "hero" as in the sandwich. But to me, a hero is someone who shows great courage, is selfless and whom you admire for these attributes. Not a sports figure to my mind, at least not in most instances, but I'll grant you there ARE sports figures and others who have displayed heroism in addition to being an object of admiration for their skill.

September 11, 2001 was filled with heros. People who went into situations trying to help others and lost their lives in the process. People who tried to thwart the progress of the plane in Pennsylvania and died probably saving countless other lives as they plummeted to a field rather than the intended target. While many died without having the opportunity to show heroism, I'm sure there are countless examples of heroic action which were not recorded that day.

A patriot is something entirely different. A patriot, according to Merriam-Webster, is "one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests." Somehow, I think I'd rather remember the day for the heros and try to support selfless behavior and to show courage on September 11th. We should remember and commemorate the day, but I prefer to think of them as heros and as players in a tragedy.

No comments: