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Holding on for a Hero

My youngest grandson has discovered "hero" toys and cartoons like Rescue Bots, Spiderman, and Paw Patrol. He can name them all and can spot all the promotional stuff in any store at any time.

My goal is for all my grandkids to be able to identify a real hero when he or she sees one. As a nation I think we've lost sight of who and what are really important and frankly it's pretty scary to see the direction we're headed in.

I've started pointing out heroes when we are out in public so that they can see who's out there in their daily lives that are so important to all of us and often go unnoticed. We've introduced ourselves to firefighters, police officers, EMTs and a host of military veterans. They know to look for the hats that so many of our veterans where and it's been a learning experience for all of us.

One memorable moment was at the grocery store when the local firefighters were doing collective grocery shopping. I pointed out the young fireman who was next to us on the bread aisle and I referred to him as a "hero" which delighted the four year old in my cart! The young man looked at me sheepishly and said, "Oh no, ma'am. It's just my job." I must have shot him the same look my kids know far to well (what they lovingly refer to as my Sicilian Death Look) because he quickly took it back and said, "Well, maybe". It took only my saying, "He's one of the good guys who would come if we have a fire....." and he jumped right in with stories about first responders and to always wave to them in the fire truck and "please come by the station any time to visit". It was only a few minutes but it was priceless to a little boy at the local grocery store. Perhaps it's my imagination but I swear that young firefighter stood a little straighter and walked a little taller as he departed. I think he needed to be reminded how very important he is and that the performance of his duties are truly heroic on any given day.

It's the merry month of May and there are specific days reserved for honoring our military and our law enforcement officers. I hope you will take a moment and thank a veteran, active military or first responder when you encounter one in your day to day lives. It's kind of like shaking hands with a chimney sweep - I can assure you that you will be the better for it.

Wishing you a safe, blessed Memorial Day weekend.

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