“hero |ˈhi(ə)rō| – noun ( pl. -roes) – a person, typically a man, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities : a war hero.”
This past week and weekend we as a nation took a deeper look into heroes as we remembered and reflected on September 11, 2001. That fateful day forever changed America, and the heroic stories from that day are the things that legends are made of. That day millions of people went to work, school, the grocery store, the mailbox, just as they would any other day, but it turned out to be the most memorable day in recent history. And while stories of loss, terror and tragedy still have a sobering sting; stories of hope, courage and the unbelievable human spirit are resounding louder and residing deeper in our hearts as time goes by. Why – because we long for heroes. Heroes give us a reason to have hope, to try harder, to dream bigger. Here at Texas Treats, we’d like to take a minute to say thank you to our heroes! We’d also like to dig a little deeper into this topic. What is a hero?
Heroes make us realize there is something bigger worth fighting for, worth protecting. But what makes a hero? Is it bravery, resilience, dedication to a cause, throwing caution to the wind for an ideal? Perhaps there are many types. Perhaps there are the kind of heroes that pave the way, and the kind that change history. Then there might even be those who never make the headlines but through kind action, change the course of another’s life. And just perhaps, the best way to identify what makes a hero is to look back, and see who they are – who history thinks they are. Here in Texas, we have many examples to look to, and all for a million different reasons:
- Doris Miller – a young black man serving as a mess attendant on a ship stationed in Pearl Harbor when, even despite no military training, he was faced with the choice to man an abandoned machine gun and defend his country or run away. He later received a Navy Cross for his brave efforts in that battle.
- Sam Houston – with a 67’ monument outside of Huntsville, how can you miss him? This Texan is known as a hero for leading the Texas army against Mexican president Santa Anna in San Jacinto, and winning Texas its independence!
- Quanah Parker – A native Texan and Native American, Quanah is known for defending his Cherokee people while helping navigate them delicately through becoming part of a greater nation.
- Bessie Coleman – speaking of woman who paved the way, Bessie’s road was lined with clouds as she became one of the first female aviators, but more famously, the very first African-American aviator.
- Nolan Ryan – Some see Nolan Ryan as a hero for having an all-time pitching record of 5714 strikeouts (and not to mention for his 1991 bench-clearing fight with Robin Ventura.
- Janis Joplin – Stretching the definition might also allow us to include heroes such as Janis Joplin – a hero in that she was willing to be a female rock star in a man’s world. (The rest of her antics might not be seen as so heroic…)
These names are just a few folks we thought might be interesting to remember, but there are plenty more worth taking a look at (we’ve even listed some place you can go hunting for heroes below). There are even others who have asked this very question – Dallas History Forum Blog. So…what defines a hero for you? Who in your life do you look to with a view of honor and pride? Click here to share your stories with us!
Here are some more places to find true Texas Hero stories:
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Texas – a complete (well, pretty thorough anyway) list of famous and heroic folks from the Lone Star State
- http://www.famoustexans.com/– not all are heroic, but all are famous!
- http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/history/texas-heroes-day-1 -Texas Heroes Day – who knew?
- http://www.the100club.org/heroes.html– Remembering the fallen in Houston
- http://jdmurrah.hubpages.com/hub/Top-10-Heroes-of-Texas-Black-History-in-America – heroes come in all colors
- http://www.texasheroes.net/– you can even rent a hero here
- http://www.texastreats.com – For when you’d like to honor your own Texas Hero 🙂