I had originally shared this on facebook, where an interesting development occurred. Not for the first time. of course, someone disagreed with the philosophy of what I posted. I cannot say I blame him, for he made a very good point. His point was as follows:
“Bull, I can agree with the glory but there are all kinds of heroes in war. Men and women who are compelled to fight who would not ordinarily that save the lives of their fighting brothers and sisters, and the innocent around them. They’re just drowned out by the mass horror that ensues all around them. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not pro war, far from it. But when ordinary people perform extraordinary acts with life and limb in the balance, it deserves to be recognized. Not lumped in with the mindless destruction of evil despots.”
Now, this is a point which does, in fact, need addressing, and I am thankful to AN for bringing it to my attention. There are most certainly heroes in the midst of war, those who risk their lives to save their comrades, or to save the innocents on the sidelines. There are certainly those who take actions, even leading to taking lives, in defense of true morals. To save lives. to defeat true injustice.
And AN was right that we should not forget them, and lump them in with those that glorify war.
I contend, however, that these “heroes” in the midst of battle, who may be soldiers, fighting among the glory-seekers, are not heroes because of the war, but rather in spite of it.
Every time a life is saved, that saving will leave an impression upon the individual who was saved. That individual will remember that action, and hopefully will turn it positively, to reinforce the ugliness of war, and the beauty that can still be found in the human spirit despite the conflict.
Every time a man reaches out to his brother, with the world being torn to pieces, it reinforces the bonds of brotherhood that can defeat the separation that causes war.
These men are not heroes because they fight, they are heroes because even though they are surrounded by ugliness, hatred, and death, they can still think about others, and take action to help others.
They are heroes because they love their neighbors, and their enemies.