Every now and then the name of Group Captain Abhinandan pops up, as a hero, and maybe the one and only hero the nation has had for many years. We think that heroes are found only in the battlefield, and only among the armed forces, but it is not so, heroes are everywhere if we’d only recognize them.
But not every soldier is a hero as this little incident will show: During field training exercises at Parris Island, South Carolina, one drill instructor threw a pine cone among the recruits and yelled, “Grenade!” The trainees immediately turned away and hit the ground. “Just as I suspected,” chided the drill instructor. “Not a hero among you! Didn’t anyone want to jump on that grenade to save the others?”
Not everyone is a hero. But then, not every hero jumps on grenades, pulls terrified children from burning buildings, or wears an impressive uniform. Do you know a hero? I am not asking you to simply name a favorite celebrity. There is a difference.
Do you know a hero? I think perhaps you do. Heroes, you see, can be found in some of the most unexpected places. I knew a young mother who was slowly dying of cancer, yet she put aside her pain long enough every day to smile and laugh with her children. She tried hard every day to bring sunshine into the gloomy hospital room when her family was present. And I watched her husband fill the roles of single parent and financial provider, and still spend every remaining moment sitting at his mate’s bedside, valiantly encouraging and offering whatever hope he could muster.
I knew a talented teacher who could have worked at a far more lucrative profession, yet was determined to stay in a disadvantaged school in the hope that she could make a difference in a difficult situation. She did it for her students.
I know a mother who provides love and shelter to her grown-up sons, who are old enough to provide for her, but cannot!
I’ve known other heroes, too.
You may have noticed many of the world’s true heroes will never be confused with action figures. Most have never been to battle, competed athletically nor sung in a pop band. But they have faced nearly impossible challenges with unimaginable determination and courage. They found what it takes to bear the unbearable, forgive the unforgivable, love the unlovable, outlast the unendurable or defeat the undefeatable. And often they do it for the sake of others.
Do you know a hero? Maybe one lives in your home. And perhaps, one even looks back at you from the mirror. For it is in everyday battles of the spirit that true wars are fought and won. And it is those real-life heroes who give the rest of us hope and remind us that anything is possible.
Are you a hero without knowing it? In all probability you are..!
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