In our current state of affairs the word “hero” has been bandied about quite a bit in reference to first-responders, health care workers and those who continue to provide essential services despite the risk they face in doing so.
To call someone a hero is to say that this person has gone above and beyond the call of duty. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hero as “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities.” When someone knowingly and willingly puts themselves at risk for the safety of others, I believe they deserve to be called “heroes”. Anyone whose achievements include helping strangers or providing much needed provisions or services despite the possibility of making themselves sick is a hero. Anyone who is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice is a hero. First-responders, health care workers and those who continue to provide essential services despite the risk they face in doing so definitely deserve to be called heroes.
Not all people would agree with this opinion. I recently saw a Facebook post that would deny first-responders, health care workers and those who continue to provide essential services the title of “hero”. This post suggests that only those who served in times of war deserve that particular appellation. Let me assure you that this post is absolutely and completely wrong.
From a strictly literal point of view, that is, according to the dictionary, warriors are certainly included in the definition of a “hero”, but it is not the only definition. Thus denying anyone but a person who has been in a war is wrong, period, full stop. More importantly, from a moral point of view, anyone who performs a noble act is a hero, and doubly so when that person is willing to sacrifice their lives. Don’t tell me that the doctors, nurses and other caregivers who died directly because of their exposure to COVID-19 patients weren’t heroes. They were, plain and simple. They gave their lives trying to help people who could not help themselves.
One of the great blessings God gave us is the ability to care for one another, often at great risk to ourselves. It is, perhaps, the highest expression of Jesus’ command that we love one another as we would be loved. The heroes taking their stand in the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, whether it’s the caregivers or those making sure our communities are safe and our essential needs provided for, demonstrate that love purely and profoundly.
And to those heroes, the first-responders, health care workers and those who continue to provide essential services despite the risk they face in doing so, I would like to offer my deepest, most heartfelt thanks. May God bless you and keep you safe as you reveal the highest possible form of love in real, tangible ways. You truly deserve to be called “heroes”.