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:
Sir Thomas More
William F. Buckley
And the "B" rank:
George W. Bush
Ivan A. Pennington
Samuel E. Pennington
The First Mrs. Pennington
The Second Mrs. Pennington
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.