Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Perceived Overuse of a Compliment

Thoughts from a Paratrooper.
Like many veterans, I’ve been called a hero for my military service. As I see it, I didn’t accomplish anything extraordinary during my time in the Army or my two tours in Iraq. I did my job. I had good days and I had bad days. Yes, on really bad days things were nasty and might involve multiple fiery explosions or being under severely oppressive heat for hours, wearing a full kit. Despite these hardships, I tried, generally, to do as good a job as I could while serving, and I left military service honorably. Even though I didn’t participate in any solitary acts of heroism, like jumping on a grenade or being the guy who got Osama bin Laden, there are many who would say I am a hero for doing what others would not while putting myself at extreme risk.

I understand the sentiment, and I trust that there are those who truly believe that all service members are heroes, simply for signing up. But I can’t help think that for some, “hero” is a throw-away word, designed to demonstrate a “support the troops” position or guarantee applause at an event.


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