by Robert Gillis
Published in The Foxboro Reporter 11/2002

Heroes.

I’ve been thinking about heroes lately.

Heroes are all around us.

At the flag retirement ceremony on the Common this past September 11, I watched with admiration as the boy scouts and veterans respectfully retired worn American Flags. The veterans fired off crisp salutes that belied their age and civilian clothes.

Last weekend, for the first time, I watched the movie, “Saving Private Ryan,” and it blew me away. The movie was aired uncut, and the invasion of Normandy and its bloody aftermath were shown in all their visceral realty.

Many have cited this film’s scenes as the most accurate representation of a battlefield, of the Hell that is War.

I was touched by the moment when tough Captain John Miller (Tom Hanks) reveals he was an English teacher in civilian life — an example of how ordinary people were called upon to do extraordinary tasks.

The next day, I read Jack Authelet’s column about remembering World War II veterans, and he also spoke of how many of the men were ordinary folks who were called upon to do something extraordinary. They were heroes, but ask them about those times and they minimize their contribution, or do not speak of it at all.

There are so many among us who seem so nondescript and ordinary, yet years ago fought in wars to protect us. So many brave men and women who served. So many who continue to serve. So many who died for us. They made the difference.

Thank you.

To every veteran who fought in every war. To every man and woman who puts on a uniform and serves in our military, in any capacity. To those fighting the war on Terror. To those who serve in Peacetime. You are a hero. You help to preserve the American way of life and our freedom. Many of you will put yourself in harm’s way to protect us. Many of you have paid the ultimate price.

Thank you.

Heroes are all around us.

The people serving in the clergy are heroes. In this time of church crisis, it can’t be easy to be a priest — yet so many good men serve the Lord, their community and people, and act as strong leaders who renew our faith in our church. They lead by example. They nurture our Church and us. There are dozens of church leaders and Lay people right here in Foxboro.

Thank you.

Heroes are all around us.

Our Firefighters, police and EMTs are heroes. Their stories of rescues and saving lives and property are reported, but for so many of them, it’s just part of the job. Like our people in military service, they answer the call whenever it comes. They put themselves in dangerous and life threatening situations to protect others. They rush into burning buildings and come out on the coldest nights and brave the most perilous situations to defend and save lives. They keep us safe. They protect us. They save our lives.

Thank you.

Heroes are all around us.

Take a moment to talk to a hero. Ask a family member about their service to our country. Get to know that part of them. Thank a cop of firefighter or EMT when you see them. Send a note to your clergy.

Heroes are all around us.

Take a moment to thank them.

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