- Grove City, Pennsylvania


September 14, 2011

Where have all the heroes gone?

In celebrating the 10th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in the history of the United States, one cannot help but reflect back on the past decade. We have come a long way, but I am wondering if we have gone the right way.

My wife and I were thinking about this the other night and she startled me with a question. Most of the time she just startles me, but this time she had substance in the form of a question.

"I wonder," she said rather thoughtfully, "where all the heroes are today?"

At first, I did not quite get her drift, and so I queried her on the subject.

First, I was thinking of all of those movie heroes that we hear about so often. Perhaps she was thinking of Superman or Batman or some such hero. These days, most of our heroes are manufactured in Hollywood and have no real affinity for the average person's life.

One of the things that amaze me about Hollywood is when they produce their infamous reality shows, there is very little reality to them. The only reality about these shows is that they make real money for those who produce them. I could live with that reality. Hollywood cannot do anything without pizzazz to dazzle the imagination of the intellectually starved populace.

Then my mind drifted back to my wife's question.

"Those heroes of 9/11," she responded. "Whatever happened to all of those heroes that stepped to the front when the need called for it?"

Then I knew what she was talking about. A hero is someone who does ordinary work under abnormal or dangerous conditions. Ten years ago when our country was attacked, these heroes stepped forth, did their jobs and then stepped back into the shadows of obscurity almost as quickly as they came.

Many of those heroes gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. Not thinking about their own well-being, they put their lives on the line to save someone they didn't even know. Many of these heroes died doing their heroic deeds. Some are, 10 years later, suffering physical consequences from their acts of bravery.

Just what is a hero?

A hero is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. A hero is simply an American who does his or her job when the need arises without any thought of political affiliation. I am rather tired of the political minutia that is paralyzing our country today. Let me say that I believe our country is bigger than all the politicians in our country.

If only we could get the media to understand that all these politicians are simply caricatures of some political ideology and not real people at all. Politicians are Washington's version of a reality show that has no basis whatsoever in reality.

A hero never blows his or her own horn and consequently many heroes fade into the background and are never acknowledged or even thanked. After all, a hero never looks for thanks; a hero only does his or her job to the best of his or her ability. Sometimes a hero only does one heroic action in his life. He's a hero nevertheless.

A true American hero does his or her job when called upon and then fades into the background so that some politician can step forward and take the credit. That seems to be the way politicians operate these days -- on the credit system. When something goes right, they take credit for it. If something goes wrong, they give the credit to someone else. I'm ready for the politician to step forward with cash on the barrelhead.

I just have one simple question. When you are in trouble, who do you want? The real American hero or some politicianâ•” any politician?

When the aircraft was smashing into their target, where were the politicians?

When the buildings were collapsing and lives were being destroyed, where were the politicians?

Back in "the day," the politician was a servant of the people, sent to Washington, D.C. to do the people's business. That day is far over and probably never will return.

Today, these politicians have the idea that we, the people, are to serve them. After all, they know what's best for us. These politicians -- who cannot take care of their own lives or their own business or even pay their own income tax -- are fully qualified to take care of our business. Is it any wonder our country is in the mess it's in today?

A real hero is someone who puts someone else's welfare ahead of his or her own. They bravely put themselves in harm's way to save someone they may not even know.

Perhaps, and I know this thought probably comes from Mars, we ought to stop sending politicians to Washington and start sending heroes.

Another kind of hero is needed in our country today. That hero is the one who will pray for our country and ask God to help us get out of the mess were in.

The formula for this is found in the Old Testament. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land"  (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV).

In 10 years, we have tried everything else, and everything has failed.

Why not try God?

The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, Fla. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. The church website is

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