What do we mean when we use the word “heroes”?
Greek mythology and epic poems are full of heroic figures represented as particularly strong characters or with singular characteristics, which allowed them to perform great feats against monstrous beings or to remedy some injustice. The famous Achilles, Hector, Ulysses, Aeneas and Beowulf are examples.
But who are the heroes today?
The best answer we can give is that in real life heroes are those who sacrifice themselves, to affirm an ideal or to help others, sometimes even by facing some dangers or risking their own lives. Over time, the image of the heroes has changed considerably, until nowaday when the hero is an ordinary person who carries out actions in favor of society, of human and scientific progress. The so-called “heroes in uniform” such as law enforcement, doctors, Civil Protection volunteers, magistrates, commanders and emergency response associations that show their high professionalism and their noble humanitarian and civil spirit, are some examples.
We can also think about Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman democratically elected head of state in Africa, whose daunting mission is to rid her country, Liberia, of the corruption and devastation of the civil war, or Hans Blix, the former UN weapons inspector, who worked so hard to delay the invasion of Iraq, or about Bono and Bob, rockers who became advocates of poverty, or also Alexander Solzhenitsyn and his struggles against Soviet totalitarianism.
The world, however, needs heroes as reference points to have greater support, to realize its ideas and to fight together for a common interest.