26 June 2012
What defines a hero in America?
According to an Act of Congress, ‘…members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States” are eligible to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.’ These men and women are, without a doubt, America’s heroes. The first CMOH was awarded to Pvt. Jacob Parrott, 33rd Ohio Infantry, for actions on March 25, 1863. Along with a small squad of soldiers plus two civilians, Pvt. Parrott infiltrated 200 miles behind enemy lines and captured a railroad train. Pvt. Parrott was from Franklin and Hardin Counties in Ohio.1
There have been, since then, 3,459 Medal of Honor recipients in all kinds of campaigns in known wars and in obscure actions in every corner of the world. The single commonality is their uncommon intrepidity. The classification in the English language of intrepidity is that it is a noun. A noun names a person, place, or thing and in this case, it is a ‘thing’ that is marked by courage and boldness. John Wayne is credited with saying, “Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”2 General George Washington wrote, “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”3
America has a great many heroes. Of the 3,459 CMOH recipients, 81 are currently living. But one does not need to hold a Medal of Honor to be a hero. There are heroes among us every day. They wear a badge and gun or a fire fighter’s helmet and an axe; they wear a clerical collar or caduceus; they wear blue jeans and hard hats; they wear coal miners’ lanterns attached to their helmets and high altitude flight suits over their uniforms. They are moms and dads, sisters and brothers, and aunts and uncles. They all believe in something larger than themselves. Sometimes they wear pink remembrance ribbons. The common denominator is much too uncommon… a commitment to caring for others around them, more than they care for themselves.
America is facing a very difficult road ahead. America needs people that care more for others than themselves. America needs heroes and I know that if we, as a people, will humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will do as He promises and “exalt (us) in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6) And once we have sought Him, He will restore our nation. We need to be a nation of heroes. We must be willing to saddle up anyway even when we are afraid. We might be afraid of devastating illness, unemployment, an out of control government over us… but we can, as General Washington wrote: ‘conquer fear.’ Franklin Roosevelt, perhaps second only to Barak Obama in pushing a socialist agenda upon the United States, said in his first inaugural address, “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”4 He went on to ask for broad executive powers from Congress, (notice that he, at least, asked Congress before taking such power to himself) to turn away from the free market economy that he saw as the cause of the economic depression and turn to a future of mutually assured (self-imposed) mediocrity; no one getting more than their ‘fair-share with ‘fair’ being determined by the federal bureaucracy. Still, though, he saw that fear had caused people to stop fighting. American needed to be no longer paralyzed into non-action. Roosevelt at least provided a spark to get the people hoping again, even though they placed their hope in the government rather than the God of heaven and His ability to bless their labor when He felt the time was due.
Today, we need to ‘saddle up,’ get to work, make the hard choices, do what is right to get the debt under control, stop wasteful spending, get the private sector working again and creating jobs without the burden of heavy taxes, particularly ‘health care “taxes”’. Within the hard choices are America’s heroes forged. Under the crucible of adversity are our heroes shaped. America should never need the government caring for the elderly, sick and infirm. Christ created His church for just such a role. God created families to care for one another, brother to brother, son to father, distant relative to hurting cousin. During the Great Depression families did not usually send their sick and elderly off to government-run shelters with obviously poor facilities and high costs; they brought them in, under their own roof, and yes, it was hard; sometimes a crushing burden for a family. But together, they held up their families, their communities and, even though the federal government provided some employment relief. It was the family that rebuilt America and for the most part, they were families of faith.
In 2012, an American hero works hard at whatever job he or she can find to help support the family. The American hero works hard to pay his bills on time and to reduce his own debt. The American hero reaches out a hand to a family member or a neighbor in need and doesn’t just give him a hand out, he gives them a help up. Yes, heroes come in all shapes and sizes. Some wear a Congressional Medal of Honor, but most wear a flannel shirt and blue jeans, perhaps stained and torn by hard work; many more wear the uniforms of this great nation, some military and others safety services. We need to eliminate the theme of the liberal ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and replace it with the biblical. It takes a family to raise a child, depending on God, trusting in His provision and following His commands. America needs families that worship God, who love their country but are wary of their government.
I disagree with Roosevelt’s socialist reforms as much as I disagree with Obama’s Marxist ideology. However, the last line of FDR’s first inaugural address is probably not one you will ever hear President Obama say with sincerity. It went like this: “In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.”
To get America leading again, it takes a ‘can-do’ attitude and American heroes forging the way. May America bless God and may God bless America!