This is a word when used out of context, very often bothers me and it is also a word that has been written about ad nauseum. It’s been used so many times that we’ve become desensitized to it as just another banal description of someone who does something “good”. But, for purposes here, I’d like to embody it in what I believe is its most proper association. Webster defines “Hero” as “an illustrious warrior, a man (or, woman) admired for their achievements and noble qualities, and, one who shows great courage”. The problem is that it is a term so often thrown around in reference to a person or persons by others who haven’t the slightest inclination of its true meaning. We normally hear the word hero casually used by the media when describing a perceived noteworthy act by some politician, sports figure or Hollywood icon…usually on a slow news day. We’ll be inundated with things like “Senator Pufnstuf is a hero for his work in improving the rights of the people”, or “such and such sports figure or actor is a hero for their work with charities and those less fortunate”. While efforts by a politician working for their constituents or a public figure’s work for charities are commendable and respectable, they DO NOT define a hero. Not by a long shot. And, while the mainstream media swoons in their love affair with the so-called glorious exploits of such people, it is really those working tirelessly behind the scenes, everyday, that deserve this acknowledgement.
Once in awhile though, the media does get it right. Case in point; Brendan Marrocco. You may not have heard of Brendan Marrocco between the news reports of the designer who made the ill-fitting dress worn by an actress attending the recent SAG awards ceremony, or the exciting and electrifying preparations by candidates for the 2016 presidential race, or even the reporting of a 5-year old facing expulsion from school for drawing a picture of a gun in crayon. But, Brendan Marrocco outshines them all. Brendan Marrocco went to Iraq in 2008 as a soldier with the United States Army. He travelled halfway around the world to help the people of a country occupied by some who would rather spit on him with a hatred born from an abhorrent religious belief than they would give him the time of day. Then, he returned home, to a sometimes ambivalent, but mostly grateful country. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that he did so without his arms or legs. On April 12, 2009, while returning from a night mission, Brendan’s vehicle sustained a direct hit from an EFP (explosively formed/fired projectile). As a result of this attack and in addition to the loss of his arms and legs, his other injuries were just as catastrophic. He was kept alive and from bleeding to death by his platoon’s medic and fellow soldiers, and by the grace of God, he lived. (Above info is from news reports and his website at: www.brendanmarrocco.wordpress.com)
I came across the story about Brendan while looking at a TV in the gym. I literally had to stop what I was doing as I was mesmerized by what I saw. I was watching a true hero. The news account was of a young man who had lost both arms and legs in Iraq and had received one of only a very few successful bi-lateral (double) arm transplants ever performed. Brendan now had two new donor arms. He was sitting in a wheelchair sans legs, but with his new arms and he exclaimed, “It’s given me a lot of hope for the future, I feel like it’s given me a second chance”. God does that. He gives us second chances…and sometimes in very different ways. Brendan is looking forward to swimming and driving and I pray that he is blessed with all that God has for him. In scripture, Matthew 5:9 (NJKV) says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. I know God is looking down with incredible anticipation of the plans He has for Brendan. I wish I could look into the future and see the awesome impact this young man will have on the lives of others. I feel in my spirit that that he will touch others in such a way as to change them forever. This is what a hero does and he did it to me. Brendan is an “an illustrious warrior, a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities, and, one who shows great courage”. In a word…he is a hero.
Our military service members…these are the men and women our children and grandchildren should look to as examples of heroes. Those who put their lives on the line every day in some hostile, unfriendly and unforgiving environment so that we back home can experience the freedoms and luxuries we now enjoy. I stand in awe of theirs and Brendan’s service…and, I am proud to be part of a humbly grateful nation.
Thank you Brendan, you are a true hero…