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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bravery and Heroism - Do They Really Need A Definition?

This is probably going to be one of the shortest blog entries that I will probably do, but there is a reason for it.  It'll be short, but sweet.

I'll also be incorporating a couple of Sunday Jukebox songs into this post...but I won't actually be doing any trivia about the song itself.  Instead, it'll serve as background music for the more serious post that these songs represent.

This is a post about heroism and bravery...and it's a post that comes just a few days after a horrific shooting that took place in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  A total of five people were shot and killed including four Marines and a U.S. Navy Petty Officer, and it is reported that the gunman had reported ties to terrorist activities.  And, you know, with so much unease in the world, and with domestic terrorism being a hot button issue since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it had me thinking a lot about heroes, and heroism, and how the very word can be used to define anybody in the world.

Well, anybody except the shooter who caused all this pain on July 16, 2015.  He is no hero.  He will never be a hero.

You want to know who the real heroes were?  Carson Holmquist.  Randall Smith.  Thomas Sullivan.  Squire "Skip" Wells.  David Wyatt.  Those are the names of the five people who lost their lives in the tragedy.  Five men who devoted their lives to protecting the American public.  Five men who did everything possible to save others, sacrificing themselves to protect the people of the United States.  Five men who are definitely considered heroes.

Believe me, here in Canada, we know all about heroism.  We felt the same way about Nathan Cirillo and Patrice Vincent - two Canadian soldiers who were killed in two separate incidents last October.  And anybody who has ever lost a loved one while they were engaged in combat during Operation: Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, The Vietnam War, The Korean War, and even World War II, I'm sure that they'll be the first ones to tell you that their lost loved ones were true heroes as well.  Nobody would ever argue against that.

But, I also believe that the words "heroism" and "bravery" can also be used to describe anybody.  Everyday people can become heroes in their own right by doing something extraordinary for other people, for animals, and for the environment.

I know that there has been a lot of debate over using the word "bravery" to describe Caitlyn Jenner, but you know what?  Her story probably helped thousands of LGBTQ youth realize that they did matter in the world, and that they should never feel as though they are worthless.  She probably saved a lot of lives with her poignant speech at the ESPY Awards, and for her to put herself out there like that - I consider that to be brave.

I also consider it brave to put yourself out there in the world, and showing people who you really are.  I like to think that I do this every single time that I post in this very blog.  This whole blogging experience over the last four years has been an eye-opener, and I have shared things on here that I never thought that I would share.  And now that I have, I feel at peace and content with how things are going.  I no longer need to be afraid to share myself with the world.  I can be brave.

And hey, if any of my stories and tales inspire other people to blog, write, dance, sing, cook a souffle, or anything of that sort, then it's all worth it.

I don't think that there should be any one definition of what a hero is, or what it means to be brave.  As far as I'm concerned, we can be heroes...just for one day.

So, go on.  Show yourself to the world while you still have an opportunity to.  I want to see you be brave.

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