Before reading, please enjoy this 5-minute video/song by Bill Anderson titled: Where Have All the Heroes Gone.”
I wonder…where have they gone?
Born in 1939, I grew up through many significant milestones in America; Wars, Political strife, Assassinations, Sports records, Entertainment giants, Economic dilemmas, Segregation, Civil Rights movements, Riots, Crime and more.
Heroes abounded. As a little boy, I saw every president as a hero, because they stood for America, the greatest country in the history of the world. The first song I ever memorized on violin was the Star Spangled Banner, which I played daily for my second grade class at North Beach Elementary in Miami Beach. I learned early on, that the “Pledge” was a statement of loyalty to the greatest country on the planet, and how lucky I was to be a part of it…despite its flaws.
The first television screen I ever saw was in New York City, 1948, where my parents were visiting a friend. It was a piece of oak furniture with a six-inch screen in the middle. Through the flickering black-and-white picture, I saw ball players running on a field. Wow! And then, the announcer, “Now coming to bat, Joe DiMaggio.” What? The real Joe DiMaggio?
Movies were fascinating. Errol Flynn, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Betty Davis,…and so on. I could name hundreds who helped to form my pride in being an American. Hundreds of these movie stars served honorably in the military during war time, and not just rugged men.
Few people know that Hedy Lamarr and Martha Raye were also heroes during war time. Lamarr was a beauty, yes, but she was also a mathematical genius who helped invent a new torpedo guidance system for the U.S. Navy. (See link, below) Martha Raye, well known for her comic genius, is the only woman buried in the Special Forces Cemetery in Ft. Bragg because of her nursing skills on the Viet Nam battlefield. She was also a full bird colonel in the Army Reserves. For going to Viet Nam, she was considered a “Hawk” by her peers, and was blacklisted from Hollywood for ten years. Sound familiar?
Ted Williams, the Red Sox’s greatest hitter, lost six years of the prime of life serving as a U.S. Marine fighter pilot in WW II and in Korea. If not for those six years, he would have set dozens of lifetime records.
War heroes included such notables as Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Pat Sajak, Mel Brooks, Alan Alda, Henry Fonda, Jimmy Stewart, and many more. Besides, Ted Williams, many Sports stars gave up valuable years to serve in wartime including Bob Feller, Christy Matheson, Patty Berg and Pat Tillman.
Then there’s Bob Hope, who brought an entourage of stars every year for over fifty years, a total of 57 tours for the USO entertaining troops. What a hero.
I looked up to so many as a kid; DiMaggio, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Koufax, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Jerry Lewis, Frank Sinatra, Jascha Heifetz, Van Cliburn, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, Ghandi, Truman, Churchill, Eisenhower …the list was endless.
Then came Viet Nam. Anti-Americanism took center stage as veterans of the south Asian war were denigrated and spat upon throughout America. Military personnel performed their duties as required, despite growing distrust of government’s motives for that war.
The 1960s saw the rise of hate organizations which led to contempt, riots and civil disorder in the streets of America. The Civil Rights era had experienced the emergence of a hero in the form of Martin Luther Kings, Jr., who single-handedly brought change and justice to the minority population. Alas, he fell to a hate bullet, as did Bobby Kennedy three months later.
It’s never been the same, since.
Fast-forward to today. The greatest role models and heroes in the entertainment world are Rap singers, many of whom find their way into prisons and jails from straddling the lanes of gang and drug activity. Much of their “music” is laced with hate, hate, hate rhetoric and foul words that denigrate women, glorify drugs and preach hatred toward the very professionals who are sworn to protect us all. Children listen to this garbage.
Please, save me the bull crap about police targeting blacks. I’ll demolish that pathetic argument in another article. The point is that these are the heroes of 2017.
Gangs are terrorizing the streets of major cities throughout America (and Mexico, for that matter). Young blacks are killing blacks by the thousands in Chicago, L.A., Baltimore and St. Louis and others. This is how that works, in a nutshell:
Babies from lower income, urban brackets are born into the welfare system, which lends itself to fatherless kids and moms overwhelmed with responsibilities, from which they have no choice but to turn to welfare for sustenance. The more kids, the more welfare. Meanwhile, fathers are off the hook without incentive to accept responsibilities. Result? Babies grow into puberty without male role models. The model for boys become gang leaders. The model for girls are, well, moms. A 12-year old boy looks up to 16 year old boys from the hood. This includes criminal behavior, assault, drug using, buying selling, etc. The real heroes for boys are the prison inmates as they are held, by gangs, in the highest regard.
Movie heroes have morphed into models for gratuitous violence, guns, guns and more guns, not to mention idiotic dialogue that cannot go one sentence with vulgarity and graphic references to sex. That, plus so-called PG-13 and R rated films replete with references and displays of sex, if not borderline porn.
Though most professional athletes are moral human beings, the focus of attention is going toward anomalies and new models for anti-Americanism, like spoiled footballer Colin Kaeperkick, who feeds his ego by showing disrespect for his country for refusing to honor its symbols, and those who have served America. And, then, the sheep follow. Millions of kids are influenced, looking on, thinking these are the new heroes of America.
Meanwhile, I’ll save the dregs of famed Americans for another article, but they would include Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dog, Madonna, Ashley Judd, Quentin Tarantino, Rosy O’Donnell, Miley Cyrus, …well, you get the point.
Here are my present-day heroes:
Famed actress, Amy Adams, who gave up her first-class airplane seat to a uniformed soldier, then sat in coach.
Golfer, Jordan Spieth, clean-cut American icon who’s on a path to match the records of many before him.
Dr. Ben Carson, whose personal story of being raised poor by a single mother who forced him to study, live clean and become someone…to now, a successful pediatric surgeon and the Secretary of HUD for the country.
Black commentators and leaders, like Larry Elder, Star Parker, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Allen West, Herman Cain, Clarence Thomas, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and many more, who have had the courage to weather the criticism and hatred from left-wing blacks in America who cannot deal with fellow blacks who have a mind of their own and who don’t follow lockstep liberalism.
Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, whose leadership was amazingly responsible for lowering crime rates in the city by 50-75 percent and miraculously cleaned up the homeless and filth problems. His mayoral success is worthy of textbooks. (Oh wait, that’s right, he was a republican)
Heroes abound by the millions; police officers, federal officers, investigators, fire fighters, EMT personnel, military servicemen, young and old, doctors, nurses, teachers, prosecutors, defense lawyers and yes, garbage men, and more, who serve their communities and their country, sometimes at great personal risk, to make our country a better place, a safer place, a more loving place to be admired.
Where have all the heroes gone? I think they are still here. We just have to point them out, and then battle the biased media to give them the attention they deserve.