I cannot help but wonder whether the idea of a war hero is a bit lost on this generation of young people. I mean how well do they even understand the meaning of true heroism? And can they relate to an old ideal of what it means to be a real hero?
There is no doubt about it, a good hero or role model can appear to be hard to find these days. Gone are the days of soldiers proudly marching down the street after a hard won battle or an armour clad hero riding into town on the back of a noble steed triumphantly holding a defeated beasts severed head aloft, that is the stuff of history and fairytales, but that doesn't mean that the days of the hero are done for good. On the contrary, finding real life modern heroes is not nearly as hard as you may think it is, you just need to know what a real life hero actually is.
If you ask any child to name one of their heroes, they will probably tell you the name of a Marvel or DC superhero that they love, and although they are citing a fictional character as their reference, they are not wrong about the qualities that they are recognising. Even children know that to be a real hero you need to possess certain characteristics. You need to be selfless, genuinely good and kind, courageous, willing to sacrifice for the greater good and willing to act out against oppression and injustice. Basically, you need to be able save the day and put things right, which is most definitely in line with our understanding of an ANZAC war hero, so our ideas about the qualities required to make a hero haven't really changed that much at all, however our ability to recognise them in real life certainly has.
Long ago heroes had to be strong, stoic and more often than not male as well, but we are a lot more educated now and although we may not have parades in the streets and golden accolades for every heroic deed that is done, we do have a better understanding that people have the ability to be heroic every day if they attend to the basic virtues of being a hero. In fact, you don't really need to look that far to find the most amazing heroes that are flying under the radar all of the time.
You see, what it means to be a 'modern day hero' is to not only have all of those heroic traits that I mentioned earlier, but to possess them without any ego attached to them at all. Real modern heroes are doing brave and noble things not because it makes them look good or gains attention, they do them because they know that that is what people in an evolved society do. They look out for each other, they save each other and they care about what happens to their fellow humans, the animals and the planet. And they don't do it for the applause or the recognition, they do it because it is right and just.
Today we can find modern heroes in every walk of life. They are not just in army tanks, fire trucks, rescue helicopters and police squads; we know that they are also in hospitals, science labs, classrooms, supermarkets, standing at the bus stop, picking up their kids from school or even cleaning out your downpipes. You don't need a cape, a mask, a statue, a medal or a standing ovation to be a hero, you just need to have the right mindset and the right ethics.
Think about Frodo Baggins, a simple Hobbit from the Shire. He certainly wasn't the biggest, smartest, funniest or fastest creature in Middle Earth, but he was the hero that saved everyone from the rising and impending doom that was going to destroy everything. And how did he do it? Not with force or strength or by slaying everything that came into his path, no he did it with endurance, kindness and courage, the qualities of a true hero.
The strength to step outside of a comfort zone, put others first and be relentless in the pursuit of justice is what makes someone a hero, which means that everyone has the potential to be a hero. EVERYONE. Anyone that has the minerals to save the day, no matter who they are or where they have come from, is a hero. And sure there will be war heroes, sports heroes and epic heroes to raise the banners for, but let's not forget the everyday heroes that make the world a pretty amazing place to be. And let's doggedly talk more to our children about the virtues of real life heroism and the selflessness that is required to fulfill that role, let's empower a generation of everyday heroes that are willing to be kind, courageous and just even when no-one is applauding their efforts or declaring them so!
I think that the Foo Fighters said it best in their song My Hero -
There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
Release Date: 2002
Running Time: 99 mins
Be careful if you are looking to hire this film, there are a few movies with this title around these days, so make sure you get the Chinese language, Jet Li movie. Directed by Zhang Yimou, this Chinese wuxia movie is based on the story of Jing Ke's assassination attempt on the King of Qin in 227 BC.
Jet Li plays Nameless, a warrior who has come before the King of Qin to recount how he slay the three assassins Long Sky, Flying Snow and Broken Sword whom had previously attempted to assassinate the King.
This is a visually beautiful martial arts movie, steeped in Chinese tradition and perfectly showcasing the defining fighting styles. The sets and costumes are magical and mesmerizing, and even if you aren't a fan of martial arts you will still get a lot of out the sheer beauty, design and choreography of the film, which is perfectly paced and magnificently presented.
FINAL SAY: In any war there are heroes on both sides.
3.5 Chilli Peppers