Great American Heroes
With all the grim economic news and continued partisanship in our great nation, one must look to the true character of regular men and women in our work force who are making a tremendous difference and saving lives. We know we have many heroes in our armed forces working here and abroad to protect our freedoms, but what about those flying our airplanes, piloting our merchant marine fleet and serving to protect us from crime and natural disasters here at home? Two such heroes have recently come to our attention in a big way: Pilot of US Airways Flight 1549, Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger III; and now, Merchant Marine Captain Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama.
Two ordinary, working, middle-aged males, quietly leading crews and doing there jobs have become true heroes in our society, saving multiple lives and in the case of Richard Phillips putting his life in the hands of ruthless Somali pirates to save those of his fellow crewmates. And while these are exemplary stories, there are so many others to be found and appreciated in those fighting wildfires in California, those putting their lives on the line every day along our southern border, and those working men and women patrolling the streets of our cities and towns and entering burning buildings to find stranded children and even pets.
While Americans usually look to our elected leaders as American heroes, and our mainstream media is bent on going beyond simply reporting to actually creating controversy and economic fear, ordinary men and women working in our nation to protect us or move our products via the air, waterways or highways, are the real heroes we can be proud of. Sully Sullenberger, who thought he was just doing his job and shied away from the publicity, is someone who made a real difference in dark times for all of us. And on his heels, comes Richard Phillips. Think of your friends and neighbors who are making a difference too, and remember them next time the media oversteps its bounds in hyperbole, personal attacks and partisan subterfuge.
Rob Hartwell serves on the Board of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy, is a former Congressional Chief of Staff, Virginia Commissioner on the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River and President of Hartwell Capitol Consulting LLC, a business development, lobbying and capital access firm located in Woodbridge, VA.