Most of us, myself included, have a person, or perhaps a list of people we look up to for guidance or inspiration. They could be those who we just admire. Maybe we even call them “heroes”.
So what does someone have to do for me to consider them a hero? Anyone who can accomplish a major feat when so many around them tell them it can’t be done is a hero.
Chuck Yeager comes to mind. On October 14th, 1947, he became the fastest man in the world when he broked the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 “Glamorous Glynnis”. Yeager was not the first to attempt it, though, and more than one pilot before him had been killed in the attempt. In fact, even some of the engineers and scientists working on the project said the sound barrier would never be broken.
I also consider the 332nd Fighter Escort Group of WWII to be heroic. You may know them as the Tuskegee Airmen. The 332nd was the first fighter squadron composed of black pilots. Take into account the period of history. At that time, black people in general were considered somehow inferior, and even in the military, they were seen as incapable of operating combat aircraft. Their flight training was seen as simply an experiment. So what did they do? They not only proved that they could become effective pilots, when assigned to bomber escort duty, not one bomber under their care was lost to enemy action – a claim that no “white” fighter squadron could make. And they did it with a huge group of people saying they couldn’t. Heroes? Most definitely.
While not quite a hero, I also admire Anthony Bourdain for his ability to entertain. Though not the first “rock star chef”, he is one of the most visible personalities working to make cooking “cool”. I look at Betty White in a similar way for her personality, as well as George Takei for his sense of humor, and Mr. Spaid (my favorite teacher – ever) for his unfailiing ability to pun.
So who do you look to for inspiration?
Who is your hero?