*Note: This audio essay first aired on KRCC (Colorado Springs’ NPR affiliate, 91.5 FM) on December 3, 2020. The link to the program is here; the audio file and the text from the essay are below.

2020’s been difficult for all of us, so this December Matt Cavanaugh’s turned Peak Perspectives’ microscope on heroes and heroism. This is the first of a five-part series.

Got a question for you. Do you believe in heroes?

I do. Heroes should be a serious subject in Pueblo as the “Home of Heroes,” and our Olympic City USA, so this December we’ll talk heroes in a 5-part series. 

I don’t mean “superheroes.” The rise of the blockbuster comic book movies has meant a rise in “superheroes.” But “superheroes” are just on-screen, they have other-worldly sources of power – they’ll fly like Superman, run fast like the Flash, or heal like Wolverine. They have a single personal weakness, but they’re supernatural. And too often, they’re the only kind of hero we think exists.

At the same time, we’ve come to believe in real villains. We don’t trust people like we used to. We see this in skyrocketing gun sales, levels of loneliness, and the walls we build. 

And so, we believe in real villains, but think heroes exist only in movies.

But they don’t. Heroes are real. And you know some.

It’s just that real heroes can’t fly. Real heroes struggle. Real heroes cry. Real heroes drive Camrys and shop at Costco. And right now, real heroes wear masks, not capes. Because real heroes selflessly serve and sacrifice for others. Real heroes put themselves second.

This December my holiday offering is to talk a little about what “hero” truly means, how we can train to be one, reveal them, and the direct connection between heroism and the four most powerful words in the English language – “I can do this.”

Be good, be well, be better today than yesterday, to the end. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.

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