A hero is usually defined as a person who has performed an act of bravery or is greatly admired for his/her achievements. People vary in whether or not they have one or more heroes. I have several heroes, all of whom serve an important function in my life. Some of them are people actually known to me, while others are famous people I have never met. Although one of my heroes is a topic for a future post, I will start my list with this person. His name was Park T. Pigott and he was my dad. Another one of my heroes is John Lennon, as anyone who know me will certainly be aware. I have admired John Lennon from the time I was 5 years old and my dad bought me my first album by The Beatles. John Lennon has been the focus of much of my time and attention over the years, including the subject of as many school papers and presentations as my teachers would tolerate. I admire John Lennon not only for his unsurpassed musical contributions to the world, but for his commitment to peace and the promotion of peace world wide. He remained true to his beliefs even when he was under attack by many people, including the government of the United States of America. (If you are not aware of this, watch the documentary titled “U.S. vs. John Lennon.”) Another of my heroes, also a person committed to the promotion of peace, was Nelson Mandela. One of the most admirable qualities of Nelson Mandela was his amazing ability to remain focused on mostly positive things during the decades of his incarceration, not to mention forgiving his oppressors following his release. (I highly recommend reading “A Long Walk to Freedom,” particularly to anyone who thinks he/she has a rough life.) Some people may not agree with my choice of heroes, and I may not agree with their assessment of people they believe have heroic qualities, but the important point is to remember the purpose heroes have in everyday life. They give us something to aspire to, often helping us in ways the more ordinary people around us cannot. Who is your hero?
Readers of our blog probably know the scheme. Each post was envisioned by whomever is identified as the first author, meaning, for this one, Melissa. She picked the topic and wrote her content leaving it for me to write a commentary. And, this is one, “Have a hero” that I’ve found difficult to write because for whatever reason I don’t find that I identify myself as one who has many heroes. When I was very young I saw JFK as a heroic figure and certainly his time in the Navy involved heroic actions. I was so impressed reading about him, including his books, that I would say I saw him as hero. I recently had the opportunity to visit his library in Boston and was reminded of his heroic actions in the Navy and as President. But, it was also a reminder that even heroes have their issues and I wonder how he would have fared under the spotlight of today’s media. Other heroes are more difficult for me to identify, especially given that I do not follow sports – though many people see athletes as heroes, they are only heroes if their activities are salient to the person. I can, of course, appreciate those who have proven to be heroes in military actions, but again, it is hard for me to adopt a person as a hero who is so distant from me. Rock and roll heroes, as Melissa noted, are more salient to me and yet, I rarely view rock stars as heroes based on my status as a mere fan. That changed, however, when I met a member of RUSH, my favorite band, a real rock star. The nature of meeting him was such that I was unsure how he would seem in person. And, only because of meeting him and learning more would I elevate him to hero status. His kindness and warmth are impressive, but more impressive is the ability he has shown to rise above the troubles others caused him and to be the bigger person. In addition, his generosity and dedication to charitable causes is remarkable, in part because he handles these things so quietly. So, yes, I have a hero and it is good to have met someone who qualifies as such, even though I’m sure he doesn’t see himself that way.