Letter: Who are the real heroes and role models in life?

Published 9:05 pm Thursday, October 12, 2017

I ran across two quotes this week that jumped out at me and made me think about our values and who we consider our heroes and role models.  The first was from a veteran’s website and the quote was, “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” With that quote in mind, how do you not consider every veteran, especially the ones who gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting our flag and the freedoms we enjoy in this country, our greatest heroes? One of the definitions of a hero is “Any man noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose — especially one who has risked or sacrificed his life.” The definition of a role model is, “A person with characteristics and expected social behavior of an individual serving as an example, a standard of excellence; worthy of imitation.” Many of today’s sport figures and entertainment personalities are looked up to as heroes or role models, and many fill those shoes. Yet others in their solidarity to point out this country’s and the world’s injustices have decided to disrespect our flag and our national anthem, ultimately disrespecting the very men and women who gave their lives protecting these individuals’ right to express their feelings. I believe these individuals with all their money and prominence could find a better way to make our society, country and world a better place.

Unfortunately in this past week we also saw a man who portrayed the definition of a coward, an individual who lacked character and was despicable in his indiscriminate murdering of innocent people.  The hero in ordinary people was played out in this moment as they stepped forward and put their lives at risk to help and protect their fellow human beings. They are my role models.

The second quote was from about 50 years ago, and it was made by E. H. Engesser, the former owner and publisher of the New Richland Star. This quote is, “There are many ways to succeed in life, to gain power, but the only way to succeed and live with yourself and look at yourself in the looking glass in the morning, and then depart from the house smiling, is to have guts, honesty, intelligence and common sense. If you have the first and lack the last three, the ultimate outcome will be bankruptcy and discontent. And as a parting thought folks, many men gloat over their power of success, but few individuals think of the sacrifices some have made to gain him that success.” This quote fits well with the first quote above because someone has made a sacrifice in the past so that you could succeed in the future. Those people need to be remembered and respected for their sacrifices, and today we need to have the guts, honesty, intelligence and common sense to do the right thing in the face of adversity and right the wrongs and stand up to those who gloat over their power of success and remind them how they got were they are and then hold them accountable.

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Gary Hagen

Albert Lea