He’s a “hero”. She’s a “hero”.
You ever catch yourself saying these things? Throwing around the word “hero” — dare we say — cheaply?
You’re certainly not alone. Everyone seems to do it now and again, both in jest and with a straight face. But should we?
Remember those old beer commercials that predated the September 11 attacks called “Real American Heroes”? They were witty, but in light of our national tragedy that saw the Twin Towers come crashing down and the Pentagon on fire, they abruptly renamed it “Real Men of Genius”. Sure, it was all meant to be a joke, and it was, but the change felt appropriate. Felt right.
There’s a great line from the comedian Louis CK that goes into how we overuse and overembellish and overembellish and abuse our language to the point where it means less. “We go right for the top shelf with our words now”, he says. “We don’t think about how we talk.”
Case in point: Salvatore Giunta, former United States Army soldier and the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor.
Watch and listen to him tell his story below, and please, the next time you throw out the word “hero” willy-nilly — think before you speak. We should all do it.