Am I a Hero? – Commentary

By Paul Martin September 11th, 2002, in Editorials

I am
a firefighter, I risk my life running into burning buildings, to save lives…

I am
a police officer, I work to make sure that the law is followed and to keep the streets safe for those who cherish it…

I am
a soldier, fighting in the fields of war, for the freedom of my family, so that my children have a safe world to live in…

I am
a teacher, an artist, a musician, a construction worker, an actor, a friend, but am I a hero?

Just in the year since September 11, I have seen many things happen. I have seen hope in hopeless eyes, and strength returning to many. I have seen movies released to records that seemed unreachable. I have seen people give freely, and help total strangers out. I have seen churches with standing room only, in the middle of the week, and flags waved for months. Seen countless images representing heartfelt reactions to the events.

What I saw that day, I will never forget. I don’t quite have the words to sum up the emotions. Most of all, what I wonder after all this time, is why people want a return to “Normal.” What I don’t understand about that, is that normal then was a world where people disrespected one another, and stepped on each others toes to get what they wanted. What happened in the last year was something extraordinary. There was honesty, and decency.


A hero can be anyone. You can be a hero. Reach out for those in need, and you will be a hero. To all those who risk their lives daily so that we may be free here in America, thank you. I struggle for the right words to write about this, and feel that no matter what I write, it’s not even sufficient to sum up the great range of emotions that anyone feels about this. I am not a police officer, a firefighter, or a soldier. I am an American. I am a student, a friend, and a teacher. Above all else, I am Catholic.

I feel that this picture sums up everything that we have come to learn in the last year. As we go into the second year since the attack, we are stronger.

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