Thursday, October 08, 2009

Why Is This Important?


One word, meaning so much.

The dictionary defines the term “hero” in these ways;
- A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.
- A person noted for special achievement in a particular field.
- The principal (usually male) character in a novel, poem, or dramatic presentation.
- A man of exceptional courage, nobility, etc.
- A man who is idealized for having superior qualities in any field.
- A man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength.
- A person who inspires others through courage, strength, bravery, and self-sacrifice.
- Someone who fights for a cause, and/or cares for and protects persons or property.
- Person of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits.
- Principle male character.
- A man or boy admired (by many people) for his brave deeds.

Within the heart of every man, lurks the hidden desire to be a hero.

I truly believe that.

That is why we all seek out and recognize heroes, and emulate them and try to be like them. It is why so many men like sports, ladies, in case you did not know that.

When I was a youngster, my heroes were super. I enjoyed comic book heroes, those larger-than-life men and women who stood tall and bravely fought injustice.

The men and women of Alpha Flight were my heroes. In a medium dominated by American heroes, as a Canadian boy it was a real treat to have a group of heroes who were solely Canadian, who protected this great nation from threats from within and without. These were some of my greatest heroes as an impressionable young man.

Years later, I find that these same heroes have been disrespected, killed off, and coldly put out to pasture, without nary a thought for the youngsters of today who need these unique Canadian superheroes to help them discover their love for their nation and that spark within themselves that could cause them to one day blossom into real-life heroes.

That thought saddens me, and angers me. It makes me wish that I could do something about it. I wish I could bring back the heroes that the youth of today so desperately need.

Last year, I found a way, for maybe the first time in my life, to be a hero myself. I felt like a hero. There was a special young lady, and she needed me; she needed my help. She listened to me, and I both supported her faithfully in her hard times and helped her to realize what she needed in her life. Things were going amazing. I poured my heart and soul into this person and this situation – I expended everything that I had within me, trying to make a lasting difference in the life of this special lady.

As with all stories, this one had an ending, and one that was less than satisfying. Suffice it to say, I was plunged into a black abyss from which only a real live Canadian superhero could have rescued me – but there were none. I had to crawl out of that hole, all by myself.

It hasn’t been easy; it hasn’t been fun. I am still not too sure that I am completely out of there yet. It has been the toughest year of my life. And I really do not know how I feel about a lot of things anymore. My world got turned upside down and inside out. I gave everything, for the right reasons; I was self-sacrificing to a degree I had never even known was possible.

In a few short months, I went from feeling heroic, to wishing I were dead. It was a year that I will never forget; it was the best few months of my life, followed by a year that was the worst I have ever experienced. And, strange as it may sound, I know that given the choice, I would do it all again.

Sometimes, being a hero means letting yourself get hurt.

I wish the people at Marvel Comics realized that. Maybe if they did, they would return Alpha Flight to their rightful place of prominence. Instead of thinking that they won’t make money from publishing it, maybe they could see it through the eyes of those most affected by it back when they were publishing it. Maybe they would then take a short-term loss, in order to bring back to the children the type of heroes that they need to inspire them.

Because now, now I am left without any heroes. This explains why I am searching so desperately to be one, but without any success. I have now experienced, just a little bit, what it feels like to be a hero, what it does within a person; and I want that rush again.

I want to risk it all, for the right reasons. I want to sacrifice, and risk getting hurt. I’ve done it before. And so has Alpha Flight.

It is time we both did it again, I think.


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