I have a problem with the overuse/misuse of the word hero, especially by such villainous/cowardly bile producers as Fox News, talk radio agitators, and anyone with a blog that thinks having an opinion makes him/her a genius. Not every soldier serving in a war is a hero: most merely do their duty (some more, some less) and are happy to survive. Unfortunately, the military likes to hand out pieces of colored thread to make themselves feel good about the suffering they cause and have managed to convince quite a few folks of their value.
I “earned” one of the higher combat decorations, but I do not consider myself a hero. I did the job I was sent to do, which included submitting myself to danger. Because little action had been occurring, someone felt the need to “create” some heroes. The citation is a fine piece of fiction, although it does describe an actual event.
I returned to a country that scorned military service and rejected those that served. Men and women in uniform were forced to shoulder the blame for flawed political decisions. Therefore, I am happy that people in the military do receive some recognition from the public, because they are still shouldering burdens of and suffering for flawed political decisions.
Perhaps Fox News considers military service to be heroic, because they do not understand what any kind of service entrails. Vain attempts to give value to boring jobs in a meaningless (except to profiteers) war in which lives of men and women are unnecessarily wasted or destroyed with injuries. Most joined the military, because no other jobs were to be had in a country that shipped most jobs overseas.
Call a spade a spade and apply “hero” only to those that do something out of the ordinary to help comrades. Everyone else is merely doing a job, no matter how dumb or meaningless and no matter of the proximity of danger. That goes with the territory.
Once again, the idiotic and bloody Balkan War has raised its ugly head and tarnished news reports with horrible memories. There seems to be a never-ending parade of "finally arrested" villains from that dark period. I recall living less than 1000 kilometers from the war and feeling no impact, beyond confusion about its cause and sympathy for the enduring suffering of innocent people. Even reading the history of the Balkan region did not lead to complete understanding.
Now, some news reports remind me of my incomprehension. Since that time, I have acquired friends in Serbia and have met many friendly people in that country...which adds to my lack of understanding of what I see on television.
In that region of the world, it is painfully obvious that one man's villain is another man's hero...and vice versa. The moment one villain is arrested, after decades of living amongst the population of one country, opposing sides start praising the arrest or maligning authorities for making the arrest. Someone that treated other people so barbarically can still be honored by those that welcomed the butchering.
As I have repeatedly stated: man is a bad animal.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.