Silent Steel

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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Silent Steel Today's society erroneously names many people who attain celebrity status as heroes while overlooking those who deserve this title. The media tends to focus on individuals based on their material assets instead of their merits. A hero cannot achieve that exalted status with wealth or good looks. Instead, a hero is a person who steps up to challenges and faces them no matter what he/she may be going through. This person does not have to perform incredible, death defying feats. He or she leads others by doing whatever needs to be done. Through acts of kindness and courage, a true hero earns that heralded reputation everyday.

During his 32 year tenure as a police officer, my grandfather, Ralph V. White, Sr., exhibited many characteristics of a hero that I someday hope to display as well. He has persevered through situations to which I cannot even relate. Being one of the first five black policeman in the city of Miami and also in the South, he has faced considerable amounts of adversity.

However, a hero displays courage despite the odds. Working out of a medical office did not help matters, but he continued upholding the law. He never desired the spotlight for his valiant actions. Consistently he went to work and fulfilled his duty to protect Miami's citizens without a complaint. He could have been spiteful because of his low wages, but he endured this and other hardships with strength and by considering others before himself. I am sure that his resolve wavered at times, but he never succumbed to this. In addition to working full-time as a police officer, he mowed lawns and performed various other odd jobs to make ends meet. He exemplified qualities that made others aspire to emulate him, as a genuine hero should.

Heroes are men and women that we look up to because of their will to help others or their constant reliability. These role models are not perfect, but they do not need to be. A hero does not long for attention, but too often celebrities are deemed heroes when they do not deserve such an honor. Our society tends to look up to individuals who have attained wealth. Appearance plays a major role in determining whether a person is an ideal role model in the eyes of the community. My grandfather's efforts illustrate how to humbly face adversity and defeat prejudice when all odds are against a person. Always steadfast and loyal, a hero tries his hardest to satisfy others before himself because he knows he must exude strength, bravery, and benevolence even when he feels powerless and alone.