Friday, May 31, 2013


So for instance, with respect to myself and my very serious injuries, I don't use the term 'hero,' and I don't like it when others do. Because I was a soldier doing a hard job, but for which I volunteered, knowing the consequences and knowing the potential consequences, and I went and did my job, and I got seriously injured. But being seriously injured doesn't make me a hero any more than it makes me a victim ...
Those are the words of  Dan Gade who lost a leg to an improvised explosive device in Iraq. He said that while riding thirty miles on a bicycle. With only one leg! Since getting back from Iraq, he has earned a masters and doctoral degree and he now teaches at West Point. He's stronger than you, braver than you and smarter than you. And he's quite sure he isn't a hero.

We live in a culture where heroism comes easy. We live in a culture where a man who gave a young woman a phone so she could call 911 is branded a hero. Dan Gade is a lot closer to heroism than any of us are and yet he knows better than to abuse the word. It's because he knows what heroism really is that he doesn't abuse the word.

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