Rants & Essays

Heroes

By Johnnie B.

Wanna know who my hero is? My dad. Never joined the military, sat behind a desk in a bank since 1960. Started just above Teller, became Prez and Chairman of the Board. Moved to another bank and got fired because he knew the current C.O.T.B. was doing unethical stuff, and called them on it. Didn't have a whole lot of evidence, but he called them on it just the same. Brave man throwing away a 30-year career and a pension. He's making 20% of his former salary right now, but he'd do it again if he had to. At 24 years old he'd just had his 4th child and the doctors were getting ready to cut the leg off his first-born.

When I joined the Marines I learned a lot of things about bravery; about heroes. Brave people are not fearless...psychotics or idiots are. Brave people face their fears and do what the have to do anyway. Heroes face the greatest war of all times - life - everyday, heads held up, doing what's right even if it hurts.

I was one of the soldiers called up for Desert Storm, though I never made it out of the California desert. I watched the politicking and the bureaucratic infighting, the incompetence that was going off to war with me. I knew some of the guys that were killed. The average soldier spent 1 year in Vietnam, though many went back for extra tours. The servicemen who left to go to the Gulf didn't know how long they were going to be there. They just went, ready to do what they had to do for the most part (there are always exceptions). In the corporate world there is management - managers get you to sacrifice things for your company, but they NEVER expect you to lay down your life. Maybe cops and firemen, but they're the exception and they know it will be short duration conflict. They will never be asked to die of hypothermia, as some did in the Gulf.

They're heroes for being ready to do that and any of them that were there doing the actual shooting realize that they're not really heroes, they're just people doing the job they agreed to do as well as they can. Like those guys in the 60's and 70's were. Like the guys in Somalia did. Like the Marines in Beirut did...and not for God, or for Country, or for glory, or even for the honor of their Service: they don't wanna let down the guys with them, or those that went before them…