Like the awarding of participation medals, true heroism is being debased by those who are so-designated for simply performing their jobs, no matter how dangerous …
While someone may exhibit exemplarity and admirable performance, that does not rise to the level of heroism. Sustaining injuries, even massive injuries, in the performance of one’s duties is not heroism. One can be deserving of respect without being a hero. And, an individual need not be singled out and honored with awards and decorations to be a hero.
Valor vs. heroism …
Valor is displaying great courage in the face of danger. Courage is the ability to perform an action that is personally frightening. And, bravery is to exhibit courageous behavior. But displaying bravery, courage, or valor it is not always heroic. Even bravery under fire is not heroism if being under fire is within the scope of your normal duties.
Bottom line …
My test for heroism comes from the military. A man who rescues a fallen comrade under fire is not a hero if that rescue attempt falls within the scope of their duties or is a commanded action. A hero is someone, with disregard for their own life and discomfort., mindful or not of the circumstances or outcome, voluntarily comes to the aid of another individual or group of individuals. The firefighter who enters a burning house to save a child is not a hero – they are doing their job. A firefighter who enters that very same burning house, with great risk to life and limb, after a general order to pullback is the hero.
Yes, there are “everyday” heroes – individuals that rise to the occasion but are not officially recognized. And these individuals may be more plentiful than one would expect in our great nation.
To be designated a hero for shooting at someone, especially if they are wounded in the process while performing their duties does not make a hero. Certainly, the individual is worthy of respect, admiration, and recognition for their courage in the face of challenging circumstances, but hero is not a term to be used lightly unless you are in the Soviet Union or a progressive socialist democrat.
If you wish to read about true heroes, you might want to read the citations at the Medal of Honor Society. Bearing in mind that the various medals of valor are also subject to the rules. A Navy SEAL or member of SpecOps is much less likely to be awarded a medal for valor than an ordinary soldier, sailor, or airman performing the very same action. And, someone working within the intelligence community may never be publicly recognized. Their awards are buried in vaults, or their anonymous star is engraved on a memorial wall.
Be mindful how the term “hero” is use and reserve it for those who go above and beyond their obligations.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius