Thursday, January 19, 2006

Who Are Your Heroes? (updated)

In a comment to my "Reunion" post the other day, someone said (in so many words) her heroes are Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill. She and I have a mutual admiration for those two great men. I have more than a few heroes, actually.

It's not fashionable these days to have heroes. I've asked this question to a few people in the recent past and have received mostly blank looks in reply. I don't think it's passé at all to have heroes; I've always had them, from early childhood down to this day. Perhaps we should just refer to our heroes as "role models;" that may be more socially acceptable.

I've laughingly referred to the "A" rank and the "B" rank of my heroes, and that's my way of discerning between those people I try to emulate and those I have a great deal of respect for. In actuality, the people in the "B' rank have the same sort of traits as those in the "A" rank, they're just not as well known, or the jury is still out, historically speaking. And what are these traits? Strength of character, moral vlaues, accomplishment, intellect, persistance, and, to no small extent, an extraordinary command of the language. Having led a "good" and productive life is also important, to me.

So. Here's my "A" rank:
Ronald Reagan
Winston Churchill
Harry Truman
Sir Thomas More
William F. Buckley
Margaret Thatcher
And the "B" rank:
Steve Yzerman
Kenny Roberts
George W. Bush
Ivan A. Pennington
Samuel E. Pennington
The First Mrs. Pennington
The Second Mrs. Pennington
"C" Rank
Joni Mitchell
Van Morrison
Lyle Lovett
Lord knows there are many, many people in the world that could qualify for my list(s). The individuals above are just a few.

Update, 1/19/2006, 5:20 p.m. Added Maggie to the "A" list (I can't believe I left her off in the first place!) and the two Mrs. Penningtons to the "B" list. The First Mrs. Pennington gets 90% of the credit for the way my two adult sons turned out and she's a hero to me for that alone, aside from her other sterling qualities. The Second Mrs. Pennington almost literally saved my life. I was headed down a bad road when I met this woman; she turned me around and is, in large part, responsible for who I became and who I am today. Besides that, anyone who put up with me for 23 years deserves to be a hero.

And the "C" rank? Three musicians who made, and continue to make, my world considerably brighter, besides being minor philosophers in their own right.

My Buddy Ed in Florida e-mailed to tell me his hero is George "Bud" Day, Colonel, USAF (Ret). And there could be no better choice. Colonel Day's bio is here, and here's an amazing tale about Col. Day from Air Force Magazine's "Valor" series.


  1. Ah, yes, I'd add Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. The man that revolutionized high speed, high altitude, strike and recon aircraft design.

    The fact that he needed titanium, and tons of it, and got it?!

    Uh-huh, Plant 42 and Skunkworks. :)

    Maggie, yep, she too is on my A-List. With Honest Abe and Henry Kissinger.

    I love your lists, too, and agree! Fancy that!

    (wish i could have been there for the F-16s and the noise - miss the smell of JP4 and the noise, too ...)

  2. Hey Steve! Thanks for the comment. I, too, agree with the people on your list. The problem with lists like this, in general, isn't who to include, it's who one leaves off. There are hundreds more who I could legitimately add to my A-list. The world, and America in particular, has produced literally millions of people, known and unknown, who are worthy of being role models. It's a pity we cannot recognize them all.

  3. Here ya go, Buck:

  4. Thanks, Becky!

    I just tried to post a comment over at your place but got a "blogger error." First time that's ever happened to me...

    MY Comments seem to work just fine, I wonder what's up with THAT?

  5. Came over here to read this one from IT's place. Good list. I've never thought of making a list like this, but I've often thought about who my heroes are. Many family members would make it, but for public figures, I think I'd include Theodore Samuel Williams, an uncompromising man, perhaps the greatest hitter who ever lived, and a two-time legit war hero who gave up five solid years of his career in service to his country. In addition, he raised millions of dollars for The Jimmy Fund, the Boston-based children's cancer fighter (and made it a proviso of his doing so that NO photographers or reporters would be alerted to his appearances at the hospital while visiting the sick kids, which gives him an A+++ in my book.)


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