Here's a peeve: Rampant misuse of the term "HERO"

[Marshall, I suppose this post could go in Mundane Babbble, our resident off-topic forum. I post it here because I am writing to an audience I’m familiar with. -Prolificisticationist]

I was watching the Discovery Health channel earlier today and happened upon a rerun of the Impact: Stories of Survival show in which, as part of one of the stories, they visited the area of the Pentagon that was struck by the hijacked plane. It was rebuilt and they showed a dedicated area –a memorial, I guess you’d say– to those who lost their lives that morning just going about their daily lives and routines. (Some 189 people, I believe. Don’t quote me.) That was all well and good, except for the banner of large letters that headed all their names:


Look, I love my country. I’m a patriotic, voting citizen. My dad, now deceased, was one of those incredible 30-year career men in the Navy! Something I’ll never match! Yikes. But I balk when I see the term “hero” misused. To me, a hero is someone who puts their own life in peril or otherwise jeopardizes their own wellbeing to save another.

And… I mean, come on now:

On September 11th in the Pentagon you had a bunch of office workers going about their daily lives when BOOM a bunch of them met an untimely fate. That makes them victims whose lives should certainly be honored. But not heroes. :unamused: I believe you weaken the nobility of the concept by qualifying as heroes people like Jessica Lynch, who was simply a prisoner of war (and just barely that) who was found and freed, or the two shuttle crew that were killed. It irritates me. It also bothers me that America might embellish the stories surrounding certain people or events in order to … well, MAKE a hero for our times.

Let’s go back to Private Lynch. In her case, we have a dubious story on two counts: One, it came out later that some Iraqis had tried; nay, had gone out of their way to hand her over to the U.S. military but were stopped by Marines firing at them! …lol Two, it came out later that the “daring midnight raid” on the hospital was a fucking sham! I mean, I’m sorry for the language here, but it vexes me that the military sought to make this a Chuck-Norris, commando style “rescue under fire” when the locals later said, “Uhm… No. Actually these guys came kicking down doors in our hospital and we had to run after them crying, ‘no, no this isn’t necessary! here, let us take you to her. please, before you destroy more of our facility!’:laughing:

The military’s response, when queried by the media about these conflicting accounts which said there was no grand shoot-out? “No comment.” :unamused:

Now let’s talk about the space-shuttle crews lost in 1986 (I still remember that day - the very morning) and last year on re-entry. Again – national icons of new-frontier exploration. Brave, smart – but hardly heroes. It could be said they are heroes for having “given their lives” in the pursuit of discovery for our country. Well, ok, maybe. But it’s a stretch, and

I’ll wrap this one up by just saying that if our nation is so starved for iconic heroes that we feel a neurotic compulsion to make them up, then something is amiss. I think it’s sad that we must embellish, tweak, or otherwise make up our heroes. But more than that it’s embarrassing, man. Let’s leave the hero status to those who have truly done heroic deeds. There is no need to convey it onto office workers in the Pentagon. Their lives are no less precious and honored if we refrain from calling them “heroes.”

The government uses the term for propaganda purposes. It supposed to make us think that it’s honorable to die for the mistakes of our goverment officials.

I suppose one would have to give a reasonable definition of hero and see if it applies. In the case of 9/11 there are stories of particular people acting heroically, some gave their lives to attempt to save other lives.

Jessica Lynch is a case where Unjust wars require manufactured heroes to sustain the myth that there is any kind of moral worth behind the reasonings for said war. Sort of the difference between fighting a determined, well trained, well armed enemy and fighting an army of people forced to fight, and who, reports say, most ran at the first sign of conflict.
It is hard to be heroic while shooting someone in the back, alas.

I did:


Wow, 30 views to the topic and just two comments, eh? Wtf. lol

I was going to mention Todd Beamer, America’s Mr. Let’s Roll himself. The emerging cockpit audio tapes have begun to suggest that the ditching of that flight may have been an intentional act on the part of one of the hijackers acting more independently than was first thought. However - in final editing, I decided to cut that whole piece, because the last thing I am out to do is question the bravery of a guy who DID take action, whatever it led to in the end.

It still vexes me though, for some strange reason, when I close my eyes and see AMERICA’S HEROES over that list of names of people killed in the Pentagon.

It just doesn’t make sense. My attitude –as a member of the general public– is don’t play pretend with me, man. You know?? Let’s not try and bullshit one another here. I find this new trendiness both embarrassing and insulting to my intelligence.

Thank Wittenstien and his family resembalnce terms.

We haven’t been able to maintian one decent word scince that prick showed up. :unamused:

I agree with your argument… except that I don’t believe heroes have to die to be heroes… a fireman that saves a little girl from a burning house is a hero…

but in essence… I agree with your argument

That’s what the government/corporate America does. When have they ever just been straight up with us? They lie and exagerate for obvious reasons. They know what they have done is wrong, but still do it anyway because it is profitable. It’s just a matter of bullshitting us into believeing something that is so far fetched that they themselves don’t believe it. You have every right to be mad about it. What I don’t understand is why more people aren’t mad about it.

I know! Where’s the demand for more intellectual honesty!? I mean damn, if it happens in another country then they’re victims. Case in point, the people who died in Spain in the coordinated commuter-train bombings a couple months back. You didn’t see news anchors calling them hereos. But boy, if it happens in


look out then, coz by God, they’re …HEROES! :unamused:

Krashash …:wink: For the third time now, I said: “To me, a hero is someone who puts their own life in peril or otherwise jeopardizes their own wellbeing to save another.”

So you see, we really are fully in agreement.


I suppose what it all boils down to is, this isn’t the sort of thing you’d see people picketing in the streets about. …lol

I mean think: You wouldn’t get out and protest that Pentagon ‘HEROES’ plaque. We feel badly enough for victims of tradegy as it is. We’re not going to make a scene saying “Your loved ones are not heroes!” So I guess it’s just more an irritating peeve than anything else. For me, anyway.

Prol…/ I entirely agree with you. It is very important to use language carefully, in particular when it comes to words with strong emotive meaning like “hero”. This is a clear example of misuse of language in order to strengthen one’s one position. It is unfair and should not be tolerated.

yaaar… I can’t read…

this fits in the propaganda thread nicely :unamused: