Monday, 25 April 2011


Todays post is dedicated in gratitude and awe of our ANZAC heroes - Lest We Forget.

As the sun dawns on ANZAC Day here in Australia, I asked myself "What is a hero?

The service men and women who have gallantly fought to protect this beautiful country and our freedom definitely fall in the category of hero. But it is a term that is often misused in our society. One such hero, though, he is loathe to call himself that, is the recipient of the 98th Victoria Cross, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, member of the elite SAS Regiment. He and his fellow solders will march today and honour their fallen mates. This man in the line of enemy fire, instinctively and without thought of his own safety saved his mates because he couldn't sit there and do nothing. He stepped up and helped rid the world of evil

The thing is one of the conditions that he accepted the highest award in Australian military was that it was to be dedicated to his whole unit and be kept at the War Memorial on permanent loan rather than "in a shoe box". He states that he was just doing his job. This is true, but makes him no less of a hero.

We also have other examples in society of heroes. There are countless of them - usually found in service roles, quietly going about the business of helping make the world a better place. These include fire fighters, police officers, doctors, nurses and the stack of volunteers who do what they do because they love it. They are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

During the Queensland floods this year, we saw further examples of people stepping up into the role of hero. People putting the lives of others ahead of their own. Such as SES workers who worked tirelessly not only rescuing flood victims but also in the massive clean up efforts that are still going on months later.

Often the media call our sports men and women "heroes", but this is often sadly not the case. I find it hard to accept that kicking a goal in the last two seconds of a match makes someone a hero. Even winning an Olympic gold medal doesn't make someone a hero. A source of inspiration, yes, but not a hero. These athletes are playing a game that they love and are often well paid because of it. Being good at something does not make them a hero.

There are very few sports people that are true heroes, though one notable exception could be Ian Thorpe. But in my view, what makes him a hero is not the amazing feats and records that he has achieved in the pool. Rather its for his charity work in trying to get rid of illiteracy in Australia. His work to make the world a better place than he finds it.

Heroes are the individuals that go beyond the call of duty. They embody the traits of selflessness and sacrifice and do not expect recognition. We only have to look at any local service club like Rotary or Lions to find a hero. Men and women working to eradicate polio, create bonds of friendship around the world or give the local kids a park to play in.

Today, as we give thanks to our fallen heroes in ANZAC ceremonies I ask you to fill you heart with gratitude for all the other great heroes that are in our community and just go up personally and say "Thank you" because usually that is all the recognition they are looking for.
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