Watched today bonus materials from the miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, and even these were inspiring and thrilling. Made me meditate on heroes and heroism. What is a hero? To me, it is someone who inspires, who makes me believe I can be a better person, that we all can be. It requires, I think, a persistance of vision, a willingness to endure hardship, an ability to share the vision with others. It does not require a person to be wealthy or powerful, and indeed those things may be handicaps.
Who are your heroes? I have, literally, more than I can name. Right now, after watching From the Earth to the Moon, it is once again astronauts, as it was when I was a child. But not only the astronauts, It was mentioned in the miniseries that 400,000 people were involved in the space program. Only 24 of those went to the moon, only 12 of those walked on it. Those who worked hard to make it happen were heroes too, who worked for a dream whose ultimate expression they could only experience vicariously.
I've also read a number of books on the Civil Rights movement, and it was also a story of too many heroes to name. Mastin Luther King, of course, who was the movement's prophet, but so many others who came before and after. Fanny Lou Hamer is one of my favorites, a sharecropper, virtually illiterate, who endured beatings and more to help create equality for her people. My Congressman, John Lewis, is another, and I recommend his memoirs of the movement, Walking with the Wind. Other great books include Taylor Branch's trilogy and David Halberstam's The Children.
In religion, my heroes are Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and Desmond Tutu. For women, there are the suffragettes. Another woman hero of mine was Margaret Sanger who fought for the right to use birth control, and to educate about it, after being a nurse and watching too many women die, and too many condemned to poverty, from having too many children.
There are a lot more. In science they include Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein. In the arts, so many whose writing and art contribute to making life worth living. In politics, the Founding Gathers of the U.S. and Nelson Mandela.
What about you? Who are your heroes? What does thinking about the make you feel, or what dreams do they inspire in you?