|What Makes a Hero?||Essay by Nathan Styles|
What exactly makes someone a hero? Is a hero born that way or is a hero something that anyone can become eventually? Many people have many beliefs on what a hero is. I personally think that a hero is something that anyone can become. I believe that a hero is simply a person who does the right thing, does not do it just for the credit, and never gives up.
First, a hero should both want to do the right thing and then do it. Police officers are a wonderful example of this. The money they earn for their job is about what the starting salary for a teacher would be, and their job is to put their lives in danger to protect others. The desire to do the right thing pushes them to serve the public no matter how much or little money they earn. Volunteer firefighters also show this aspect of a hero by risking death every time they enter a burning building to save a trapped person, and since they are volunteers, they take this risk without compensation of money. Just because someone knows what the right thing is does not mean that he or she will necessarily do it. There may be fear of physical or emotional damage to the individual that prevents him from doing what he knows is right. And that, in fact, is what begins to set a hero apart from everyone else. A hero knows what is right and has the courage to do it regardless of negative effects it may have for him or herself.
Second, a hero does not do good works in order to get public recognition or credit. I believe that there are a lot of people in this world who do good deeds for people in order to receive public praise. A true hero, however deserving of recognition, does not necessarily want it or try to get it. A prime example of this is Sergeant Jason Thomas of the United States Marines. Sergeant Thomas was one of the people at the World Trade Center after the attacks of 2001. He helped rescue two trapped police officers, Will Jimeno and Sgt. John McLoughlin, and then vanished. Sergeant Thomas knew that helping to search for survivors under the debris was the right thing to do. That alone, I truly believe, is why he did it. After finding and helping in the rescue of these officers, Jason Thomas returned home and left only his name, rank, and military department. He did not leave his address or a photo of himself. That, at least to me, proves that he did not want recognition for doing what he felt morally obligated to do. Sergeant Thomas could have had a lot of fame with the release of the movie World Trade Center. However, since he left little information about himself, he was inaccurately portrayed in the film. Even after the film was released, Sergeant Thomas was reluctant to make his true identity known. I think that Jason Thomas is a real hero.
Finally, a true hero should never give up. If I were trapped on the roof of a burning building and the fire kept rising in spite of the efforts of firefighters, I would not want the firefighters to give up and let me burn. I do not think anyone would. Most people would want the firefighters to try harder to save them. I think that a real hero would not give up on doing the right thing just because it becomes difficult. I think it is very hard for police officers to stand on the “business end” of a gun, but they put themselves at that risk for average citizens. I do not think it is very easy to run directly into large flames of a burning building to save a child trapped on the fourth floor, but firefighters do it to protect that child’s life. Overcoming difficult or frightening situations is part of what makes some people heroes. I am not trying to criticize people who would turn and run in a difficult situation; I personally do not blame them. But the courage to overcome that fear is what separates a hero from just being a good, moral person.
Heroes are something the world would never last without, and everyone has the potential to be a hero. However, in order for me to consider a man a true hero, he must do the right thing, he should not do it just to get recognition, and he should find the courage to never give up. I am very glad that there are heroes in this world, and I hope that there always will be.