Sunday, January 20, 2008

America's (or any body's) Heros

I'm back. It is kind of Mr. Marley to show his deep concern over the possibility of Monkey Bears getting me, however; Sam may have overlooked the fact that I am in the company of the extreme guard dog axillary poodle who, in fact, is part bear . He is ever so different than my dog, but he needs care and love too and I'm quite certain he would bite if we agreed on a person's Mal intent.
Right now I would like to talk about the embarrassingly over used term American Hero. I can't quite recall who first poured the cheap syrup and blew the tin horn over the the word to charm it from it's long standing definition of "A Person who performs an action where the term idiotic and brave are interchangeable depending on the amount of political hay to be bailed from the incident" and changed it to the generic public servant who may or may not go into harms way very often and hardly to the extent that soldiers in a war do. Not to push the stubborn donkey (or kick the dead horse) I'll mention in my inside voice that I have held both jobs plus a couple of others that most normal people would overlook, like lobster boat deck hand and high steel painter, and while it is true that come crunch time, the firefighter must take what seem to be horrible chances and the deck hand risks being carried overboard
with his foot caught in a trawl line while the high iron worker can simply fall forever, these folks may call in sick and tend to be unionized with very good pensions and health plans. They work under OSHA rules as well and can strike or call job stoppage if safety seems an issue. Not to say there are not potential heroes to be had. Tradition mandates that men and women in dangerous professions do stupid things all the time and get recognized for the heroic parts. Your real heroes however. Well they come from the ranks of the citizens who take up arms for what they believe are the foundational ideals that make their country the best place, their religion the truth of the ages, their oil the blackest or their coconuts so sweet; small things to one person's ear roar like the Lion of Victory to the next guy. That's where they come from, but they still have to do some heroic labor to get the title. I can tell you, the majority would just as soon be home on the couch but believe it or don't there actually are heroic deeds that left undone might threaten the existence of the couch, the ice box and the beer as well. So do yourself a favor and think a little bit before you toss the H word around. For some reason the word pushers are trying to shove Hero into the category of every kid on the team gets a trophy just for showing up. Where did that come from? Well remember Vietnam? That is a small country not much bigger than New Mexico but long like Florida. Well had a war going there for a good while and since it was a sort of go out and find some enemy type war it was probably the war with the greatest support operation ever in one place. I mean tons of transportation and logistics and administration outfits, maintenance battalions lots more stuff and very little big fighting forces out in the Field. Now that doesn't mean the enemy didn't sneak up and shoot mortars and rockets at any base that had an air field. They did that quite a bit but not for very long. OK? Well, remember that just about every kid over there had grown up right after WW II where everyone went to war stayed until it was finished and moved around back and forth with the line of battle. Vietnam was nothing like that at all. And what happened was you had 55,000 die but many many more just rotated through for a 12 month hitch and they were there, then gone out of the Army before they even got acclimated. I was a little surprised that I did not get any respect for doing my time, but I was glad to be gone. Over a period of time however, I could not help but notice a far greater percentage of special forces combat veterans clogging up society than the could possibly have been in real life. That led me to the theory that rather than such a huge post traumatic stress issue, there was much more of a guilt feeling that here you were at war and you just did some army job all week until you went home and even though you may have been shot at, you were not at Khe Sanh or any of a very few big battles they had fought. So you made a legend for yourself and started to believe it and this led to the ridiculous ideas of POWs and MIAs being in Vietnam 20, 30 even 40 years after the fact.
and it was this kind of unresolved nonsense that now requires us to slap an automatic hero sticker on ever soldier, policeman or firefighter we see. These people deserve you respect to be sure. But while we are so free with our heroism handouts, does anyone know what happens to a real hero? Some soldier who lays down his life to save other soldiers, civilians, children?
Nothing really, he was just doing his job. Give him a medal and a flag for the wife and then ease her off post because they need the housing and it's not like dead people are still in the service. Spend your billion bucks a day, but what kind of benefits befit the survivor. Not many. People are used to it. I say pay off the Camaro and give them a million bucks plus education for the kids and lifetime medical and PX privileges. You don't think we could afford that? Well, how about afford it or stop with the bullshit wars and while you're at it make the word Hero mean something again, it'll save you some dough and maybe place public service in it's proper position of respect. Take a look around, we don't need another hero. Just some common sense and the guts to remember that we are the people and we need to give ourselves a good talking to.

1 comment:

Ms. Moon said...

Bread and circuses, babe. Bread and circuses. And heroes galore.