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Where Have All Our Heroes Gone?

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 23: The Superman costume as worn by Christopher Reeve in Superman III is displayed at the Auction House of Bonhams and Goodman on May 23, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia. The Costume will be auctioned tomorrow and is expected to make between AUD$15,000-20,000. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

When I was about ten years old I spent every Saturday in one of the three local movie theaters in town. My heroes back then were names most people reading this have never heard of. “Johnny Mack Brown,” “Lash LaRue,” “Wild Bill Elliott,” “The Cisco Kid” “Tom Mix” and “Hopalong Cassidy.” These larger than life heroes took care of the bad guys in weekly western serials lasting a very short 60 minutes.

The names of my heroes that you probably have heard of would be, “Zorro,”  “Superman,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Roy Rogers,” “Gene Autry” and “John Wayne.” Many of these characters have stood the test of time and are still filling movie theaters today.

Unlikely Heroes

In the 50’s and 60’s we were shown the American Family on the two or three TV channels that were available to us. Every kid wanted a father like Ward Cleaver of the “Leave It To Beaver,” show. Or Ozzie Nelson of “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” “The Cosby Show” introduced us to Dr. Heath Huxtable the strict but loveable father figure who parented with comedy. The heads of TV families leveled the playing field. Their kids looked up to them with love and respect. How far we’ve fallen in today’s entertainment industry.

Today’s TV Family

Almost every current TV sitcom about a family portrays the father figure as some kind of overweight, out of touch, idiot. These “boobs” are hardly roll models to children or parents watching in living rooms across the country. Not too many heroes here.

Sports Heroes

Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Roger Clemmons, Alex Rodriguez, are just a few names that have been highlighted in sports pages in recent years for using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

All homerun, RBI, and pitching records are pretty much out the window. Babe Ruth and Cy Young got their records honestly. How can a true baseball fan appreciate what happens on the field? It’s akin to finding out professional wrestling is not real. Who saw that coming?

Some Final Thoughts

Maybe looking for heroes is the wrong way to attack this issue. Maybe instead of looking for heroes we should make it a goal to “be heroes” in our daily lives. Be a hero to your kids, be a hero to your co-workers, be a hero to strangers. If we all did that perhaps we could, by example, show the next generation what real heroism is. I’m ready to give it a shot — are YOU?

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