The well-known Star Spangled Banner elaborates on the land of the free, and the home of the brave – but why does this free land exist, and who are the brave? The United States Armed Forces are the federal military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. This coalition was founded on June 14, 1755 and the current Minister of Defense is Ash Carter.
There are also three general categories of military people; active duty, who are fulltime soldiers and sailors, reserve & guard forces, who are individuals who work a civilian job but can be called to full-time military duty, and veterans and retirees, who are the past members of the military. Then there are also the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present.
These men and women are heroes in many ways, can be directly related to Homer’s Odyssey in their characteristics and lives, also can be directly related to the lessons and positive virtues of life, and help to elaborate on ancient concepts of life and the ideals of heroes. The paramount idea is that heroes of today do not wear capes, masks or mechanized suits. Our heroes silently serve, provide aid around the world and defend the quality of life that Americans enjoy. They are proud of their service and rarely ask for anything in return, so they walk among us, often carrying the scars of their sacrifice.
These people often do not get the proper recognition they deserve, as many of them lose their life, and sometimes we don’t even take a second to think about it as it happens so often, when we should mourn and respect, these righteous heroes. Yet there are people who indeed disagree with this statement saying that not all soldiers should be categorized as heroes. For example, Chris Hayes is the host of All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, and three years ago, he stated, “obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that.
But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. ” Hayes uses the phrase, “genuine, tremendous heroism” which implies that soldiers have to do more than just fight to be heroes. They have to do more than risk their lives and put everything on the line by just going to war. The standard definition of a hero is a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. The phrase that Hayes uses is a subjective phrase, and he uses it’s meaning in a skewed manner, as all soldiers are heroes regardless of what they do.
They have to do more than telling their families that they might not come back. Those few who Hayes would label “real heroes” will still be singled out and honored with the appropriate military awards and decorations reserved for such acts of valor and heroism. But in reality, the “real heroes” would not begrudge their brothers and sisters in arms from being referred to as heroes. Hayes is wrong in many ways, as everyone who fights for the United States’ protection, freedom, and greatness, are all epic heroes.
The members of the United States Armed Forces exemplify heroic ideals through their character, actions, and motivation. Additionally, some of the most prominent, and most important, works of literature in the world are examples of epic poetry. There heroic adventure tales have often had surprising durability over time, such as Homer’s, Odyssey. Homer’s definition of an epic hero is a person of imposing stature who stands for the ideals of a nation or race and performs deeds of great valor that require extraordinary courage that the average man does not possess.
Odysseus truly exemplifies this in Homer’s poem, but so do the members of the United States Armed Forces. These men and women in arms are always fighting for their country in mind, as that is who they are proudly representing on the battlefronts. In fact, only 7. 3 percent of all living Americans have served in the military at some point in their lives. This shows that these are not ordinary men who join the army because they are forced in some way, but distinguish themselves by putting their lives on the line to fight for what they believe in, a deed of great valor that requires extraordinary courage.
Also, throughout his tedious journey home, Odysseus exemplifies characteristics such as putting everything on the line so that he could save his crew and himself, a prominent characteristic of soldiers. Homer states, “You think we are headed home, our own dear land? Well, Circe sets us a rather different course… down to the House of Death and the awesome one. Persephone, there to consult the ghost of Teiresias, seer of Thebes” (Homer 248). Odysseus is doing this because Circe tells him to journey to the underworld in order to question the dead prophet, Teiresias, about his and his crew’s faith.
A journey to Hades, especially for a living person, is incredibly dangerous, and there are only a few heroes who have made the attempt such as Hercules and Achilles because they face the possibility of a situation in which they will be forced to remain in the underworld. Because there is no guarantee that Odysseus will be able to ascend to the living world, Odysseus is risking his life for his crew and himself. Another concept that Homer tries to show is, “The Epic Hero Cycle” or “The Hero’s Journey. This consists of the main concepts an individual who first goes on a personal journey, that is transformed into a cultural journey over time. Because of this, he gets a call to adventure or a quest and supernatural forces that give aid or cause problems come along the way. During the quest, there are a series of tasks and trials and eventually, the yet to be hero hits a low point where he nearly gives up or appears defeated. But he redeems himself and has a homecoming. The members of the United States Armed Forces also follow a hero’s journey, just a little different than Homer’s idea.
Often, our troops have a call to action, either when they have made up their minds to serve from an early age, or they suddenly feel compelled to do something great for their country and enlist in the armed forces later on in life. There are a series of tasks and trials that they encounter along the way which include operations, assignments on the front line, and relocations on the front lines in various places around the world. The next step Homer talks about is the metaphorical abyss which is the low point. This is true for soldiers except for them, it is no metaphorical.
Many of them lose their lives in battle, and if they survive, there is no guarantee of them coming home. They may never see their families ever again and the whole reintegration into society step is never achieved. Because of these obvious differences between the great fictional hero named Odysseus and the United States Armed Forces, I believe that the members of the United States armed forces are heroes. Furthermore, both Randy Pausch and Morrie Schwartz elaborate on the lessons of how to live properly, happily, and in a worthwhile manner in their lectures.
Pausch says, “show gratitude” as one of his lasting remarks and Schwartz says, “be compassionate. To yourself and others. ” These are the characteristics of a true hero, thinking of yourself, the ones around you, and the country that you fight for. The definition of gratitude is the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Soldiers show gratitude for their country when they are fighting and when they return. They are the greatest patriots as they see the true meaning of respecting a country for all it has to offer.
The definition of compassion is showing care and concern for others. Soldiers show this characteristic when they fight for the United States, when they show respect for the fallen, and when the fight selflessly for each other. Pausch and Schwartz are on their deathbeds when they are saying this, and are talking about how to live the best life you possibly can, but also, these men clearly elaborate on the characteristics of a hero in their videos. In cessation, there is much evidence and clear connections showing why our men and women at arms are heroes.
Throughout history, the individuals from the United States Armed Forces have embodied gallant standards through their characteristics, activities, and inspirations. Every single man and woman who sets their hearts and futures on fighting for this country are the heroes of today, were the heroes of yesterday, and will be the heroes of tomorrow. They are without doubt, the greatest Americans of all-time, helping to form the country, protect it, and build on it’s value every second of every day.
They know they will lose many things and there is no set future for them, but they do it anyways, and that is what makes them daringly great. Robert F. Kennedy sums this up appropriately by saying, “It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. If one individual can take his life for many, then those many have the duty to take his life into their hearts, minds, and communities where they can respect, mourn, and love for him, the true treatment of a gallant hero. The heroes of yesterday, the heroes of today, and the heroes of tomorrow, the few, the proud, the United States Armed Forces.