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Heroism is in eyes of the beholder

August 07, 2007

Re " 'Hero' rings hollow," Opinion, Aug. 3

I have long felt that the term "hero" has become victim of the tendency by politicians to create jingoistic phrases that play well with the public. I was a reserve police officer for 20 years and never felt that just showing up for a work shift was a heroic act. It was simply what I chose to do to as a contribution to the community. The term has become devalued in my view. If everyone is a hero, then no one is.

Cliff Weiss


Bravo, Rosa Brooks, take a bow. The misuse, overuse and cynical manipulation of the word "hero" exemplifies the erosion of language that dumbs a media-saturated, news-as-entertainment-fed public even further down the road of "everyone's a winner." It is sad to consider how the acceptance of an inappropriate term can be so readily embraced by a populace that is spoon-fed a feel-good-at-any-price dose of daily cant.

Lawrence J. Pippick

Los Angeles

Brooks' take on our current lexicon is alarming. Heroism should not need to equate to extreme acts, no matter what the dictionary reads. In its ideal, it's a quality of character to which every human should aspire; in its practice, it most certainly does apply to most anyone. Who is Brooks to denigrate the terming of "hero" to any who serve, sacrifice or suffer in the mundane? Does Brooks want to inform the struggling parent of a cancer-stricken child that he doesn't cut the mustard? That the local hospice volunteer is not doing anything of import? And just to clarify, merely joining the military, fire or police force is most assuredly heroic; the very basis of these professions is to potentially give your life for another's.

In my opinion, we can't have enough heroes in our world, even if the application of the term doesn't live up to Brooks' lofty expectations.

Dana A.S. Rakoczy

Rancho Cucamonga

What planet is Brooks from. Here on Earth, we recognize that our military as well as our public servants are heroes. They are serving a higher cause than themselves. They put their lives in danger every day to make life safe for others. Brooks' comment that a soldier killed while sleeping by an IED is not a hero is a slap in the face to every soldier serving our country.

Charles J. Dery

La Crescenta

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