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What defines a "hero"?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by ONYX, Apr 23, 2004.

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  1. ONYX


    Apr 14, 2000
    Edit by Jazzbo:

    Merging the threads was awkward, so I'm hijacking Onyx's post, as it's the first post, for this intro to this thread. Sorry if anybody's post got lost in the process, I tried my best to avoid it, but I'm not extremely intelligent.

    I decided to start a thread myself, for the people that were having the discussion in the "RIP Pat Tillman" thread. Please remember that normal OT rules and guidelines are, of course, in effect, that we would like to keep this discussion, as always, civil, and that politics should not enter this discussion.

    Merging the threads was awkward, so I'm hijacking Onyx's post, as it's the first post, for this intro to this thread. Sorry if anybody's post got lost in the process, I tried my best to avoid it, but I'm not extremely intelligent.

    Thank you everyone.

    Original post by Onyx:

    The big question for me , at least, is this: How many of us here would pass up fame and glory in life for fame and glory in death?
  2. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    He, like anyone who chooses to serve thier country, was a hero.
  3. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY

    To lighten up an otherwise heartbreaking topic... ESPN has a "look-a-likes" page. Pat Tillman looked a bit like Henry Rollins in one shot (scroll to the bottom).

  4. I don't mean to be disrespectful, I know you're doing time right now( :D ), but the term "Hero" is tossed around pretty casually.

    Yes it takes guts to sign on the line, but not like it does to stand in an exposed position in the center of a road drawing enemy fire to cover his companies withdrawal and staying there after being hit several times. (PFC Charles DeGlopper- 82nd ABN)

    That's a hero, that's why he recieved the Medal of Honor.

    I'm not saying people serving in the armed forces aren't deserving of respect, far from it. But save the term "Hero" for someone who deserves it.

    I'm not saying someone is not a hero unless they earn a Bronze Star, there are plenty of ways to be a "hero" but just "being there" isn't one.
  5. tappel


    May 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Just "being there" isn't enough? I couldn't disagree more.

    There are troops there who do no want to be there yet there they are.
    There are troops there who left family, friends, and careers to be there.
    There're people like Pat Tillman, who did not have to be there yet there they are.

    I'm no big flag waver but, geez, these people are all heroes to me.

  6. Hi Tom!

    Again, I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but I think you need to evaluate your definition of "hero."

    I do not want to wake up at 6AM to go to work every morning. Am I a "hero" because I do? Doing your job doesn't make you a hero.

    Ask anyone who is serving or has served, it's a job; instead of a business suit, you wear a salad suit. There are jobs that are fun and jobs that are dangerous. The military can be either a very cush or a very dangerous job.

    Besides anything else, they signed on the line. Whether you're active duty, Reserve, or National Guard, the purpose of you joining is to defend your country in the way the powers that be see fit. Not JUST show up once a month or two weeks out of the year and "play army." The purpose is to fill in in the eventuality of a need for troops and to be ready when that need arises. That's made abundantly clear before you sign up. If you're not ready to fulfill YOUR commitment, you have no business cashing your check from the government. Plain and simple.

    Take a quick gander at some of these profiles: http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/moh1.htm

    If a hero is someone who shows up, is someone who shows up and does their job a superhero? What about someone who does their job really well? What about someone who does their job excessively well and will do so despite the probability of great bodily harm or death?

    Sitting in a tent being miserable in 120 degree heat, getting sand in your food and coffee, your tongue swelling up like a sausage because the waters so salty, not showering for 2 months at a time- not a hero.

    Dropping in with a buddy and 180 rounds to keep an angry mob from killing a downed pilot or protect the corpse of a dead pilot from the same mob- hero.

    Again, I'm not saying servicemembers aren't deserving of respect, being heroic takes more than being there.
  7. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    They signed up knowing that they could very easily end up on the front lines being shot at. Whether or not that happens to them is irrelevant. They are heros in spirit and for that I have the most respect possible for them.

  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga

    ^---------- what he said.
  9. kegbarnacle


    Nov 18, 2003
    I've followed Pat Tillman since my freshman year at ASU in 96. Pat was such a fun guy to root for because he was such an eccentric individual, and he was always going top speed. The more I've read about him over the years, the more it has become apparant that he really was a man of principle and integrity. He passed up 9 million in '01 with the rams to stay with the cards out of loyalty to the only team that would use a last round draft pick on him. He passed up 3.6 million to join the army out of a sense of duty. He was usually the underdog on the football field - starting out as a non-scholarship player at ASU and finishing up as the Pac-10 defensive player of the year. Then the pros all said he was way too small to be a linebacker in the NFL and way too slow to be a good defensive back. And he probably was - but he made up for it with heart and hard work. He ended up a starter and breaking the team record for tackles.

    His death doesn't make him more or less of a hero than anyone else fighting in Afghanistan. Funny thing is, Pat Tillman probably wouldn't have wanted a talkbass thread or any other publicity surrounding his death. When he walked away from millions of dollars and the luxury of celebrity, he did no interviews and did not issue a single statement - he never wanted publicity and didn't want to be seen as anything more than any other soldier. What he walked away from and the other things he did in his life - his courage and dedication to what he believed - does make him an interesting story and a hell of a person. I never knew him, but I felt like I lost a friend.

    I read this today in an article by Peter King:

    "I think the significance of the life of Pat Tillman is this: Sacrificing your wants and needs and hopes to do what you think makes the world a better place is the most admirable thing a person can do in this life."
  10. I think what sticks in my craw about this is that it degrades the concept of a hero- someone with uncommon valor, someone who displays a selfless ethic, putting your buddies lives or your mission above your own life.

    When I was a kid the only time you got a trophy was when you won something. Somewhere between then and now, kids get trophies for showing up. Where having one trophy was a big deal, rather than having a bookcase full of them that means nothing.

    If everyone is referred to as a hero, what do you refer to a real hero as?

    There's a difference between doing something commendable and doing something heroic. I'm just saying putting on a uniform doesn't imbue you with any special qualities, it's what you do in that uniform that distinguishes you.
  11. kegbarnacle


    Nov 18, 2003
    And putting your life on the line for the cause doesn't count as doing something "in that uniform"? I think everyone who goes over there is a hero. When the planes hit the buildings, all of us were shocked, only a few put their lives on the line to defend us.
  12. What do you refer to someone who jumps on to a grenade to save his buddies' lives?
  13. kegbarnacle


    Nov 18, 2003
    Hero. Easy question.

    I don't think, as you seem to, that the definition of hero is so absolutely narrow as to include only those dying to directly save someone else in the immediate present. To me, a guy who puts his own life on hold to go fight for our freedom after terrorists attack us - knowing full well what dangers are involved - then dies defending said freedom leaving a wife and family behind also qualifies as a hero. Especially when he could have just sat back and enjoyed the quality of life we have and no one would have said anything to him.

    I wasn't aware that there was a grenade jumping litmus test.

    Edit by Jazzbo. Sarcasm is not needed in these discussions.Last sentence italicized to let people know what we can do WITHOUT here at Talkbass.
  14. How about the person who bravely assembles and disassembles the women's latrines? You can refer to that person as a "war hero" as well as the person who intentionally gives his life to save others, and still maintain a sense of what is "heroic?" Is that fair to the person who did make the supreme sacrifice?

    Dying is not heroic, neither is being wounded, nor is being taken prisoner, it's the actions you perform that make you a hero.

    Intent without action means nothing.

    Think of this like a Superbowl Champion. You can sit on the bench all season long, but take part in every practice, every grass drill, but not make it out to the field on gameday. At the end of the game you can still hoist the trophy over your head, get a ring, but you weren't the one who made a crucial fourth down catch, you didn't make a touchdown saving tackle, you didn't kick a clutch field goal, but you're still part of a winning team.

    You can still be brave, and not be a "hero."

    Make the word "hero" mean something.
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    "intent without action"? everyone in our military is a volunteer. that makes them all heroic even by your own standards. they didn't _have_ to join the military. whether they died saving 100 of their buddies or died because the latrines they were cleaning got bombed, they volunteered to be there, to die, for their country, and they didn't have to be there.
  16. No, they volunteered to be in the military. They did not volunteer to go to a combat zone. I don't know how it is now, but choice of duty station wasn't available for initial enlistment, but as an option for reenlistment. Even then, there's not an reenlistment option for a combat tour as the units are rotating in and out. Even a reenlistment in theater would be a moot point due to stop loss.
  17. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but I would assume that not everyone who joins the military does so for the dominant purpose of "serving thier country".

    For example, don't a lot of College graduate *have* to join the military to clear the thousands of dollars worth of debt they have acrued which they cannot pay back?

    What about the kid from smalltown America with a bad reputation who can't get a job? Or the kid who gets thrown out of home by their parents?

    A lot of people join the military all over the world for a lot of different reasons, not all of them necesarily as "heroic" as serving one's country. A lot of people join the military because it is a paying job which pretty much anyone can "get" and which takes care of them in a society that, perhaps otherwise, would overlook them.

    Yes, everyone "signs on the line", but it often necessary to look at the circumstances surrounding that signature before you can determine whether it was truely "voluntary" or, for that matter, heroic.

    FWIW it sounds like the circumstances behind Pat Tillman's enlisting were, at least, admirable if not "heroic" to those who value such things.

  18. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Interesting tangent sprang from this statement. I lean in Goldenboy's direction when it comes to this hero stuff.

    I don't think that anyone who chooses to serve their country is a hero. That's way too inclusive IMO. I served my country and would consider calling what I did heroic a humongous stretch. I joined because I ran out of money for school, the economy sucked and jobs were scarce. I guarantee that many in the military today got there under similar circumstances. I did my job to the best of my abilities and fortunately we never launched a nuke during my stay.

    The word also presumes how someone behaved if they actually came under pressure. As much as we'd like to think that everyone would have the stones when engaged in battle, some people can't deal and may actually run from battle situations. They're still in the military... are they heroes too?

    I'm not criticizing these people... the only way to really know what you'd do in that situation is to be in that situation. That's one place you see both heroes and ordinary men and women.

    I almost get the impression that some think that those currently in the military volunteered after 9/11. Some did. Some didn't. For some, like Tillman, it was a calling. For others, a job.

    I agree that calling everyone heroes lessens the word.

    And I wouldn't put much stock in any amp advice from Macca;)
  19. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I was just simply impressed that not only did he turn down millions to play in the NFL, but that when he did leave to join up, he did not make a big media event out of it. He simply joined up and gave up an opportunity that I can say with some certainty that most of use here would have not.

    We need more people like him. Not just in the military, but in all aspects of life.

  20. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    We should not forget the fact that even though Pat Tillman gave up millions of dollars, it pales in significance to the fact that everyday soldiers around the world give up seeing their partners / wives / kids to go off and fight in "other people's wars".

    IMO his sacrifice was not greater or less than any other soldiers, its just more newsworthy.

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