I was tempted to write a lengthy blog today on how to speak to those who serve – sharing some insights from my experience over the course of this campaign that other civilians might not be aware of. And I still may do that another time. But in thinking about what I wanted to say, one thing kept coming to the forefront: Don’t call them Heroes.
Now, I want to be clear here: I am not suggesting this because I don’t believe that they deserve to be called Heroes. I do; wholeheartedly. In my assessment, anyone who has dedicated – and in many cases, sacrificed -- their life to serve others is the definition of a Hero.
Having said that, what I know is that if one thing is consistent among every member of the Armed Forces that I’ve spoken to, it is their humility. Call a Veteran or Service Person a Hero, and I guarantee you that they will offer you someone else who they believe is more deserving of that title. Someone who served longer, suffered more, or accomplished more. There is always someone who, in their assessment, is more deserving of the title “Hero” – no matter who you talk to, how long they've served, how much they've suffered, or how much they've accomplished.
What I’ve learned from this is that, “Heroes” are in the eye of the beholder. By all means, if you admire someone who serves, feel free to tell them that they are your Hero. Just don’t expect them to agree that they are a Hero.
And that’s part of what makes them Heroes -- their humility.