On Sept. 11, 2001, many heroes gave their lives as they bravely went to the aid of those trapped in the Twin Towers. Firemen and Police Officers responded to the calls that went out for assistance. And many of them lost their lives.
In response to those attacks on our soil, U.S. service men and women were sent to foreign lands to fight for the freedoms that we as Americans hold so dear. Many of those who went on our behalf did not return home alive.
Today, all across our nation and around the world, people are stopping to remember the great tragedies of that infamous day. Remembering the innocent lives that were lost and those men and women who gave their lives in service.
They were heroes, real true heroes.
These folks were not superstars, not rock stars or pop stars, not sports stars, or movie stars.
They were real, true heroes. Men and women who didn't do the job for fame or fortune, but because it was the right thing to do. Men and women who were willing to lay down their lives for another.
Heroes surround us. They are not just those who wear a uniform, but they are those who show us the right way to live by their example.
They are the ones who make us want to live right because they have shown us how it's done.
Sometimes heroes live next door to us, or work next to us on the job. Sometimes they sit next to us at church or live in our own homes.
We have heroes that teach our class at school, or take care of us when we are hospitalized. They are there when we need them and sometimes when we don't realize that we do.
One of my favorite poets, Edgar A. Guest, wrote a poem that is so fitting for such a day as this. Let me share a portion of that with you. It is entitled "Heroes."
There are different kinds of heroes, there are some you hear about.
They get their pictures printed and their names the newsboys shout;
There are heroes known in glory that were not afraid to die
In the service of their country and to keep the flag on high;
There are brave men in the trenches, there are brave men on the sea,
But the silent, quiet heroes also prove their bravery.
I am thinking of a hero that was never known to fame,
Just a manly little fellow with a very common name;
He was freckle-faced and ruddy, but his head was nobly shaped,
And he one day took the whipping that his comrades all escaped.
And he never made a murmur, never whimpered in reply;
He would rather take the censure than to stand and tell a lie.
And I'm thinking of another that had courage that was fine,
And I've often wished in moments that such strength of will were mine.
He stood against his comrades, and he left them then and there
When they wanted him to join them in a deed that wasn't fair.
He stood alone, undaunted, with his little head erect;
He would rather take the jeering than to lose his self-respect.
And I know a lot of others that have grown to manhood now,
Who have yet to wear the laurel that adorns the victor's brow.
They have plodded on in honor through the dusty, dreary ways,
They have hungered for life's comforts and the joys of easy days.
But they've chosen to be toilers, and in this their splendor's told:
They would rather never have it than to do some things for gold.
Today, we remember heroes.
Let me encourage you to be a hero to someone. Live your life so that others will see your example, an example for good, and may they call you "Hero."
-- Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.