Let’s talk heroes, people. Not the ones you read about in novels—the real ones. Mine, specifically. See that picture above? My hero is the one on the right. Superman. Cute, huh?
[Note to hero: Stop rolling your eyes. You’re adorable.]
Okay, let’s be honest. Real heroes don’t fly around wearing fancy leotards and bright capes. Most are like Clark Kent, blending in with the rest of us, and I’m convinced they like it that way. They aren’t heroes for the fame or a spot in a comic strip because they possess a little thing called humility. They come to the rescue because they can’t help it; the hero thing is in their DNA.
Like my hero, the boy who stood in front of me to confront bullies even when said bullies were twice his size.
[Another note to hero: You’re lucky she didn’t whoop your ass.]
He’s also the teenager who used to sneak into my room when he heard crying to make me laugh so hard the tears disappeared. He later turned out to be the man who encouraged me to go to college and follow my dreams during a time in my life when those dreams didn’t seem feasible.
[Final note to hero: I love you.]
And he won’t like it, but I’m about to reveal his identity. You ready?
His name is Captain Travis John McCracken, United States Army. He’s a husband, father, soldier, Army Ranger, friend, scholar, cook, amateur historian, and football addict. He has many more titles and to list them all would embarrass him because he’s not a fan of the spotlight, but I’m throwing in one more: He’s my brother.
Oh, did I mention he’s your hero, too? Yep, that’s right. He has spent most of his adult life protecting your freedoms, never asking for recognition. He experienced things many of us only read about in books or watch in movies, enduring the realities of the aftermath, and he did it all without a cape or tight pants.
Want to see his uniform now?
He’s not the only one. Thousands of men and women like him go to work every day protecting you and me. They are the real heroes. Perfectly flawed and totally human with the one super power we all should hope to acquire.
So while you’re celebrating, don’t forget this weekend is not about cookouts, a shortened workweek, or department store sales. Remember our fallen soldiers, think of their families, and know those quiet heroes died so you could live.