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Author Topic: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?  (Read 8749 times)

Harm

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What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« on: August 03, 2009, 04:15:44 PM »
When someone says War Hero immediately in my minds eye I see pictures of Audi Murphy and Alvin York, Carlos Hathcock as well.  Men who put hurting on the other side in warfare. 

The reason I ask is that when I was out today I saw a truck with a bumper sticker that say OBAMA: Don't Blame Me I Voted For The War Hero.  And it struck me as odd as I never thought of McCain as a War Hero.

Now let me add I think every man and woman who serve in uniform regardless of action are heroes.  I admire all of them for their willingness to serve.  I have a great deal of love for them.  And obviously spending time in a prison camp is going to be a horrid situation.  But he wasn't a rallying cry for troops.  The way I understand it no one really knew who he was till he came home and Ronald Reagan took him to the Conservative Gathering in DC to introduce him. 

Anyways maybe I need to reevaluate my thinking on the term War Hero.  I don't know why I'm posting this, just random ramblings from Harm. 
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Raptor

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2009, 04:26:45 PM »
In my mind, everyone who serves in our military is a hero. The ones who fight on the front lines doubly so.

And if memory serves, the NVA was going to release McCain from captivity because his father was an Admiral and it would make them look good in the international press, but McCain refused, saying he wouldn't leave unless every other American who'd been captured before him was released as well. He willingly remained a POW for another 5 years. Don't know for certain if that's true, but if it is... if that doesn't make him a hero, I don't know what does
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Thernlund

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 04:28:26 PM »
Now let me add I think every man and woman who serve in uniform regardless of action are heroes. 


You know... I may catch some crap for it, but labeling every service member a hero sort of devalues the word.  The men and women of the United States Armed Forces are people who have answered the call of duty and honor.  They are, for the most part, honorable people, and they are very much deserving of our thanks for their service to our country.  But "heroes"?  All of them?

A hero is the guy who jumped on top of a grenade top save his squad.  A hero is a man who ran into enemy fire to retrieve an injured comrade.  A hero is one who goes above and beyond.  One who does something so profound and selfless so as to make you weep.  A hero is one who is truly special.

McCain wasn't a hero because he got shot down and captured.  McCain was a hero for enduring everything he did at the hands of the enemy, and he NEVER gave in to their ever so simple demand.  All he had to do to make the pain stop was to utter just a few words against his country.  He didn't do it.  For 5 and a half years he didn't do it.  Hero.

These men and women are as well heroes...

http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-archive.php


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Harm

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2009, 04:39:46 PM »
T - thats a good way to put it. 

In your mind is there a difference between a hero and war hero?   ???
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Thernlund

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2009, 05:03:09 PM »
No.  Saying "War Hero" only gives some sort of idea where the heroism took place as well as implying association with the military.

A hero is a hero.  Those who serve in the Armed Forces are that much closer to heroism than the rest of us to be sure.  But simply signing on the dotted line cannot be heroic in and of itself.  What if the individual ends up riding a desk at Luke AFB for 15 years (unlikely, but possible).  This individual is absolutely deserving of our thanks and appreciation as it was a job that needed doing.  But it wasn't heroic.

For all that would be required to become a true hero, I doubt there are many here who would WANT to be one.  Just read over those CMOH lists and you'll see a common term used; "posthumously".

Heroes don't do a thing to become a hero.  They do a thing that makes them a hero because it was in their nature, and the right thing to do.  They go above and beyond what a common man/woman would do not because they wanted to, but because they couldn't NOT do it.


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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2009, 05:12:51 PM »
I agree with T just because you are a soldier doesnt automatically mean you are a hero. For real heroes look at all those who hold the VC or the MC and also the men who laid down their lifes to save their comrades, like the Royal Marine who jumped on a grenade backwards to save his mates and all that happened to him was he got a ruined rucksack and thrown in the air  :o
 Often when the men are ask if they are heros they tend to reply that they where doing it for their mates and for no other reason.

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2009, 07:42:12 PM »
You know... I may catch some crap for it, but labeling every service member a hero sort of devalues the word. 


+1

As a former military member I wholeheartedly agree.  I kinda think that "hero" or "heroic actions" are relative depending on the person.  For the person who never possesed the courage or intestinal fortitude to sign up for the military, a person who did sign up may be a hero to them.  Yet for that person who signed up, especially if they have seen the white elephant of combat, the standard is set much higher.  One thing all heroes have in common, is that none of them think they are one.

Is john mccain a war hero?  Id say so.  The man had a dangerous job, and as a result was shot down and captured.  Still bears the residual physical effects of torture.  Certainly more of a hero to me than say, that Lynch girl who was captured as a result of stupidity and a complete lack of knowledge/care about basic soldier tasks.


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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #7 on: August 03, 2009, 07:54:21 PM »
especially if they have seen the white elephant of combat
I think you might have mixed two terms there.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2009, 08:02:07 PM »
I think you might have mixed two terms there.


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Harm

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2009, 09:57:58 PM »
 :rotfl
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2009, 10:24:43 PM »
I guess.  I had a grizzly old Sergeant Major who used "white elephant of combat"  quite often.  I always assumed he was referring to the way Southeast Asian culture views White Elephants...rare and sacred, rather than misusing a colloquialism.  It made sense to me because for combat arms people, those who havent seen action view it as somewhat sacred, and even now, finding someone who has actually seen combat is pretty rare.  But im just a dumb grunt.  Im sure the non militart types,armchair generals and other breeds of REMF have a better handle on the proper usage of colloquialisms and slang. ;D

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2009, 10:32:37 PM »
Stratacat I'm sorry I meant no disrespect.  Thank you for your service.  You must admit there are so many variances in phrases within the military that can vary service to service and even from era to era that it can be confusing for outsiders.

Heck I have a hard time following my buddies who've been in the sandbox when they all get together and get a few bottles under their belts.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2009, 10:38:27 PM »
Harm no worries dude...I was explaining what i took it to mean, the last part was just me being a smartass for good measure.

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'WAR HERO'
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2009, 12:19:51 AM »
Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?


There's a cemetary in the north of France where there are war heroes.
"Through ignorance of what is good and what is bad, the life of men is greatly perplexed." ~~ Cicero.


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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2009, 12:21:45 AM »
And a wall in Washington, D.C. that is covered with their names.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2009, 01:08:23 AM »
This is one of my own personal gripes that drives me to distraction.  The cheapening of the word hero.  A hero isn't someone who just shows up and does their job or who happens to have the bad luck of getting killed or injured while doing their job.  It is something more.  A firefighter who is simply doing his job and gets killed when a building collapses isn't a hero.  A firefighter who after his comrades have pulled back for safety runs back into a burning building to rescue a child is a hero.  A soldier who gets blown up by an IED or has his head blown off by a sniper isn't necessarily a hero.  The guy who jumps on the grenade to save his squad or singlehandedly charges a machine gun nest to save his platoon is a hero.  You have to go above and beyond the call of duty and do something extraordinary to be a hero.  You have to do something you didn't have to do and weren't expected to do.  Just showing up and doing your job doesn't make one a hero.  It isn't to denigrate the service or courage or goodness of those simply doing their jobs.  It is about cheapening the word hero and cheapening the valor of those who actually do something heroic.

I think it stems from the current attitude in society to make everyone equal, to make sure no one is better than someone else and to make sure no one has their feelings hurt.  Calling everyone who plays a game a winner.  Not keeping score so that there are no winners or losers.

In terms of the military I think there is some of that but there is also the guilt aspect.  Soldiers returning from Vietnam were treated so badly that there seems to be some overcompensation at work.  It seems as if current soldiers are all treated as heroes, deserving of the title or not, it will somehow make up for the shameful mistreatment of soldiers which occurred 40 years ago.

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2009, 05:25:40 PM »
I think of my wife, who stayed home and took care of a household and children, and staved off questions like "aren't you worried?" from well-meaning, but ignorant neighbors and friends, with good humor and grace, as far more heroic than I was for sitting in Kuwait for 9 months.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2009, 10:18:02 PM »
I think of my wife, who stayed home and took care of a household and children, and staved off questions like "aren't you worried?" from well-meaning, but ignorant neighbors and friends, with good humor and grace, as far more heroic than I was for sitting in Kuwait for 9 months.

Ditto!

Also, I think this grand suckup of the American people to get over their guilt of treating the Vietnam vets with such disdain by treating all following vets as heroes despite what they may or may not of did is a debacle.  Yes, I liked it when someone shook my hand and said thanks the first time after I came home, the 2nd and 3rd times as well, now when someone finds out in was in the sandbox years ago they always work in "thanks for your service" almost like it is expected such as saying "bless you" when you sneeze.  Although its cold, not everyone who dies in war is a hero, I think its better to say that someone who may of died while eating the burger king he grabbed before heading out of the gate in the back of an 1115 due to an IED died a SOLDIER, or Marine, or Sailor or whatever may apply.  A soldier steps up to his place in line and tends to his mission as long as he can despite the hardships and danger.  He battles through the bulls___ and boredom, he helps his brothers in arms, he laughs, he cries, he hurts sometimes - but above all he doesn't quit.  He "watches his lane" until his tour is up and then hands it to the next guy to watch.  Sure some of them jump on grenades to save their buddies, take charge as E-nothings of an entire platoon when the world explodes around them, fight on with mortal wounds instead of seeking medical aid and others that drive on scared s___less knowing death is approaching but continue to fight anyway.  Those are my heroes.  I knew an old paratrooper named Dutch once while I lived over in Western Ohio.  Dutch had only 4 ribbons, Good Conduct Medal, WW2 Victory medal, a purple heart, and a bronze star.  He only jumped 9 times, 5 in jump school, 2 more in training in England, Normandy and Holland (a German grenade took care of the purple heart and any more jumps for him).  How do you classify him?  A hero in my book, but he would of never agreed.  What was the bronze star for? he never told me, but to him it obviously didn't seem important enough for that title. So bacially, we make our own heroes based on our own ideas.  As far as I am concerned, I am proud to have called myself a SOLDIER.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2009, 01:54:26 AM »
Didn't read most of the thread, but I'll put in my peice.

War Hero doesn't necessarily mean putting a hurt on the enemy to me. I think of guys who put their lives on the line for their wing man, the guy next to them in battle. Many of the recent recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor did not receive it for a body count. They were granted that honor for giving their lives for their buddies in a spectacular way.

John McCain is a genuine War Hero. I don't like him much as a politician, but any man who spends the amount of time he did getting tortured in a hell hole of a prison, and following the US Military Code of Conduct, is a hero. I got a very small, easy taste of what that experience is like at SERE training. It wasn't pleasant. They use McCain and many other guests from the Hanoi Hilton as examples to live up to throughout the training. I've met some of those men. There is a training squadron at Randolph Air Force Base, where I was stationed for a year, which re-trained the re-patriated POW's who still wanted to fly for the Air Force, and every year since their return, the base hosts a reunion for those men. A handful of them speak about their experiences, and it is amazing to hear. Those men are heroes, but will never admit it. Which brings me to my next point.

The last thing I always think of in a hero is a person who doesn't believe he did anything extra. He is humble. He will tell you he was just doing his duty, no more. I resent people [cough cough] John Kerry[cough cough] who flaunt their medals and awards like a resume. To those men, "above and beyond" is a normal operating procedure. In this vein, I think of my Grandfather, whom even I don't call a hero, but he was humble about his achievements. He received two Purple Hearts in WWII, and would be pissed if he knew he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We believed he had earned a place there, but he would've disagreed. The hero will never believe he's a hero.

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2009, 09:22:21 AM »
Any person who has endured the terror of incoming fire and then willingly returned the favor...war hero.
Any person who has served in the US Military...hero.

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2009, 12:48:22 PM »
I greatly respect those who have served and do serve in our military

However, not all contributions are equal.

a REMF is generally very necessary, but to me, it means a bit more of your life is put on the line.

Front line troops are in the thick of it, but as a society, we recognize those who were injured with the Purple Heart, even though the guys right next to the wounded one were just as in danger.  I think it is probably right that we do recognize those who will keep on sacrificing long after they have taken off the uniform due the nature of the wound.

I'd definately see someone who had a serious injury (say lost their legs) as on par with someone who was held as a  POW

Of course, another level of hero is those who saw a problem and went above and beyond the call of duty.  This could be a small band of men charging an enemy advance at much greater risk to themselves than a standard military action, or it could be a POW who does extrodinary things when they are a POW to keep the rest of the people alive and functioning.

I think McCain falls in this second group.  As a POW, he was a leader of men, who kept them as motiviated as he could, and kept them willing to live longer as much as he could.  He worried enough about his fellow POWs that he refused a personal chance at being saved simply due to being related to important people.  Both deeds in my eye make him worthy of being termed hero.  No I don't think it is Medal of Honor level of heroism, but it is definately heroism.

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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2009, 01:24:00 PM »

John McCain is a genuine War Hero. I don't like him much as a politician, but any man who spends the amount of time he did getting tortured in a hell hole of a prison, and following the US Military Code of Conduct, is a hero. I got a very small, easy taste of what that experience is like at SERE training. It wasn't pleasant. They use McCain and many other guests from the Hanoi Hilton as examples to live up to throughout the training. I've met some of those men. There is a training squadron at Randolph Air Force Base, where I was stationed for a year, which re-trained the re-patriated POW's who still wanted to fly for the Air Force, and every year since their return, the base hosts a reunion for those men. A handful of them speak about their experiences, and it is amazing to hear. Those men are heroes, but will never admit it. Which brings me to my next point.

The last thing I always think of in a hero is a person who doesn't believe he did anything extra. He is humble. He will tell you he was just doing his duty, no more. I resent people [cough cough] John Kerry[cough cough] who flaunt their medals and awards like a resume. To those men, "above and beyond" is a normal operating procedure. In this vein, I think of my Grandfather, whom even I don't call a hero, but he was humble about his achievements. He received two Purple Hearts in WWII, and would be pissed if he knew he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. We believed he had earned a place there, but he would've disagreed. The hero will never believe he's a hero.


I liked the response one of the "Band of Brothers" vets told his grandson when asked if he was a hero: "No but I served alongside heroes..."

As for McCain, I don't like him as a politician but his refusal to leave his imprisionment early to stay with his men makes him golden as far as i'm concerned and validated his life. Despite the fact that I don't like him as a politician, he's Ronald Reagan compared to what we have now...and I loved Reagan, no disrespect to the man. I could have put up with McCain's RINO ways on my worst day rather than watch with simmering rage as Senator Obama plays Russian Roulette with America.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2009, 01:27:13 PM »
As for McCain, I don't like him as a politician but his refusal to leave his imprisionment early to stay with his men makes him golden as far as i'm concerned and validated his life. Despite the fact that I don't like him as a politician, he's Ronald Reagan compared to what we have now...and I loved Reagan, no disrespect to the man. I could have put up with McCain's RINO ways on my worst day rather than watch with simmering rage as Senator Obama plays Russian Roulette with America.

Ditto. Like I told my friends and family during the campaign, I didn't like any of the candidates, on either side, but I respected McCain. And I'd rather have him in the Oval Office any day of the week instead of Obama.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #23 on: August 12, 2009, 02:51:53 PM »
http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html - this is a list of heroes.

I served for 8 years active duty 4 Air Force - 4 Army.  I was an aircraft electrician in the AF, a tank turret repairman in the Army.  I was not nor am I a hero. (except to my grand daughter who is 1).  I do the MOH postings on the R Lee Ermey Sound Off Forum, and it is a humbling experience to post the ciatations of those who received this highest award.  You do not win a Medal of Honor, you receive it.  And no, you do not have to be a MOH recipient to be a hero.  But I agree that referring to everyone who wears or has worn a military uniform as a hero does tend to diminish the term.
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Re: What Does 'WAR HERO' Mean To You?
« Reply #24 on: August 12, 2009, 02:58:35 PM »
I served two tours in Iraq and I'll be ther first to tell you I aint no hero.  In airports I'd get aproached and told that I was a hero and whatnot, but it didn't make me feel good because I didn't think it was true. 
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