Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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In a cartoon what do Spiderman and Superman represent? Consider them as role models for young children. These cartoons are characterized with large muscles and superhuman powers. Even though they are fictional characters, children see them accomplishing unbelievable feats, such as flying from one place to another and saving the world. These characteristics, which are given to many unreal cartoons, help children become fascinated with them. Kids admire these made-up television characters, and believe them to be their hero. Not everyone believes cartoon characters to be their hero. Every person has their own standards as to what a hero is in their eyes. Therefore it is clear that, a hero is someone whose actions are inspiring and noble, which the person who foresees him or her as being so, determines. It is true that some people don't believe in having a hero. Although many television shows exaggerate the meaning of a hero, some do exist in today's society.

Many of them go unknown because everyone has a different viewpoint on what a hero is. Some people's standards for a hero do not meet the courageous acts of those performing them.

Anyone can be a hero. Some may think of a hero as anyone that struggles to overcome enemies, and or escape from difficult obstacles in life. Yet, some people still believe a hero to be a larger than life character. In reality, any ordinary human being can, and often does, perform heroic deeds.

Some may find an idol within evil. A prime example of this would be the disaster that occurred in our country a couple weeks ago. The terrorist attacks in some of the major cities of America took many innocent lives, without a justified cause. While the United States sees the attack on America as a dreadful terrorist event, the followers of Osama bin Laden may see him as a hero. He promises his followers that they will go to heaven, or paradise as he puts it, if they join the jihad against America. Because of promises such as this, Osama bin Laden's followers see him as someone to look up to and are willing to give their lives in practicing his evil ways.

This attack that the United States has recently encountered gave us the opportunity to recognize the true hero's of today. We (the U.S.) have a different viewpoint of a hero than the followers of the terrorists. The firefighters, rescue workers, police officers, Red Cross, and thousands of volunteers are just a small number of the hero's during this saddening catastrophe, which we are now facing. Just minutes after this horrible attack brave people such as these rushed into the burning buildings, knowing that it could collapse at any time. Not only have these people taken the risks of giving their lives for the possibility of finding survivors, they also helped those who are grieving over this heartbreaking event. All of these individuals are putting countless hours in trying to clean up the debris, along with what remains of the buildings that collapsed due to the terrorist attacks. These are only a few of the many inspiring acts we are encountering from the thousands of noble people lending a hand in this long and agonizing process.

No particular deed has to be completed for a person to see someone as being valiant. It may be a certain coach that has faith in his athletes' abilities. For example, during the softball season of my junior year one of my coaches had tremendous faith in me. I never heard a bad comment. My coach always dwelled on ways for me to improve, rather than degrading me. He was always around to lift my spirits after having a bad practice. Having someone that is caring and willing to listen, are characteristics enough for me to consider him a hero.

Furthermore, a hero does not have to be nationally known. For example, a child's parents could be considered a hero. Parents are often willing to help out unconditionally. It is safe to assume that parents have a great effect on one's life. They are the primary influence kids have while growing up. They can give one a sense of assurance and provide a safe environment. Admittedly, no matter what happens, food, shelter, and unconditional love are some of the characteristics that can be found in a parent. This, for some, is enough for their parent to be considered their hero.

Many children believe cartoon characters to be their hero's. Although they have never met the character to find out the fiction that exists, the courageous and valorous actions they see them perform on television brings about a positive vibe, making the children want to be "just like them." The fact remains that a hero has no set characteristics, for the people who determine their hero are the ones that decide them. A hero can be anyone from a famous person to a relative to anyone that has just simply made a difference in one's life. A hero could be someone that has literally saved a life, or encouraged one to overcome bad decisions they have made during their lifetime, which gives them strength. Perhaps this makes anyone capable of being someone's hero someday.