There is so much written on the uniqueness of the human spirit that I doubt I will add anything at all to the vast library of opinion, and I think it is important to note that is what everything written really is. We can not define a chemical make up for this quality, we can not analyze a specific genetic composition, nor does it manifest itself in a singular behavior, but researchers and theorists will postulate on what makes up this quality and back up their theories with statistics to show how right they are. Does it matter what a PhD thinks is the essence that makes us human, why some are willing to sacrifice themselves, if it is necessary to, or how when struck down with unbelievable hardships some will persevere and overcome? I don’t think so.
But there is something that leads men and woman to think beyond self and in an instant overcome the inclination flee and instead move towards the cries for help, or the sounds of disaster. For these human’s the honor of being called a hero seems appropriate. It seems to me certainly more appropriate than calling someone who makes a charitable contribution a hero, for no matter how beneficial that gift might be it was not made with any potential of sacrifice, other than to wealth, and I don’t see a transfer of wealth to fall in the same category as a willingness to trade one life for another. But then in todays upside down world we throw around all sorts of feel good words.
For those who show the courage to overcome personal tragedy and succeed where others say they cannot, they show another unique quality we humans seem to have, the ability to fight on when the odds should compel us to surrender. We see this all around us, from the children stricken with cancer, to the veterans struggling to overcome the wounds of war.
For all who would honor the human spirit I think this song from the Man of La Mancha is fitting.