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    HERO

    Leonidas, King of Sparta, was preparing to make a stand with his Greek troops against the Persian army in 480 B.C. when a Persian envoy arrived. The man urged on Leonidas the futility of trying to resist the advance of the huge Persian army. "Our archers are so numerous," said the envoy, "that the flight of their arrows darkens the sun."

    "So much the better," replied Leonidas, "for we shall fight them in the shade." Leonidas made his stand, and died with his 300 troops.

    Today in the Word, November 4, 1993.


    Babe Ruth had hit 714 home runs during his baseball career and was playing one of his last full major league games. It was the Braves versus the Reds in Cincinnati. But the great Ruth was no longer as agile as he had once been. He fumbled the ball and threw badly, and in one inning alone his errors were responsible for most of the five runs scored by Cincinnati.

    As the Babe walked off the field after the third out and headed toward the dugout, a crescendo of yelling and booing reached his ears. Just then a boy jumped over the railing onto the playing field. With tears streaming down his face, he threw his arms around the legs of his hero.

    Ruth didn't hesitate for one second. He picked up the boy, hugged him, and set him down on his feet, patting his head gently. The noise from the stands came to an abrupt halt. Suddenly there was no more booing. In fact, hush fell over the entire park. In those brief moments, the fans saw two heroes: Ruth, who in spite of his dismal day on the field could still care about a little boy; and the small lad, who cared about the feelings of another human being. Both had melted the hearts of the crowd. 

    Ted W. Engstrom, The Pursuit of Excellence, 1982, Zondervan Corporation, pp. 66-67.


    Researchers James Patterson and Peter Kim report in The Day America Told the Truth that 70 percent of Americans say they have no living heroes.

    James Patterson and Peter Kim, The Day America Told the Truth.


    A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer. 

    R.W. Emerson.


    Researchers for the World Almanac and Book of Facts asked 2000 American eighth-grade students to name prominent people they admired and wanted to be like. Those most frequently mentioned by the teens as their heroes were celebrities such as Burt Reynolds, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, and the late John Belushi.

    Commenting on this, columnist Sidney J. Harris lamented the fact that every one of the 30 prominent personalities who were named was either an entertainer or an athlete. He noted that statesmen, authors, painters, musicians, architects, doctors, and astronauts failed to capture the imagination of those students. He further suggested that the heroes and heroines created by our society are people who have made it big, but not necessarily people who have done big things.

    Source Unknown.