It's a strange title and yet I can think of no other. Who are your heroes? Think of who inspires you, who makes you believe the world could be a better place? I don't think I ever really considered the concept of who MY heroes were until recently. I was looking at Dave Carroll's website (http://www.davecarrollmusic.com) and he has an amazing entry for "Everyday heroes". This was right about the time of the Carmel fires and so I added Elan Riven, the 16-year-old firefighter volunteer who died.
After, I realized that while Elan was most definitely a hero, he fell into that category of people who become heroes in death. But there are others - those who defy the odds, not to die, but to live. One of my recent heroes was a relatively young mother who recently passed away after years of fighting cancer. RifkA started a blog, Chemo and Coffee, and showed how someone can be a hero simply by choosing to live, choosing to fight.
Other heroes? Anne Frank. I keep picking dead heroes - I know I have live ones, but there is something about Anne Frank that has always touched me. Many in the Holocaust maintained their faith in God, but lost their faith in man. Anne wrote simply that despite everything, she still believed in the goodness of man. It boggles the mind; it tears at the soul. How? How could she possibly have lived so long in hiding, only to be caught and taken to a concentration camp, to suffer there and starve, until just days before she might have gone free, she died. How could she possibly still believe that man is even remotely good after what she experienced?
Others? I have always believed that Menachem Begin was a man of greatness, one of the last leaders, if not the last, to care more about the country than his personal ambitions. Often I have thought - if only Menachem Begin were alive today, Israel would not be where we are, with weak leaders who surrender at the whim of foreign powers while our people suffer.
More? Well - here's where my conversation with Elie came in the other day. Elie had a commanding officer - K. K fought in the Second Lebanon War and in the Gaza War. In Lebanon, he was stationed deep in the fighting, front line. It is a mother's worst nightmare. To hear Elie tell is, K is fearless (and showed it on the paintball field as well as in Gaza. I keep meaning to tell the Story of K and His Coffee...but not today.
Today goes to another officer - apparently a commanding officer of my nephew, though I have not heard from my nephew anything about him. The officer was badly injured - I think in an operation in the army and lost part of his lower leg and foot. This doesn't stop him from leading combat soldiers, from running when he has to, from doing his best to do what he clearly loves, leading his men in a cause he believes in.
These are our heroes, today and yesterday.