Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid...He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world
Somebody asked me earlier if I thought it was really important to tell stories about women's struggles. And I said yes, but at the same time, it's also important to tell stories about women's triumphs, women being slackers, women being criminals, women being heroes.
Courage is more exhilarating than fear and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes over night. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.
In our world of big names, curiously, our true heroes tend to be anonymous. In this life of illusion and quasi-illusion, the person of solid virtues who can be admired for something more substantial than his well-knownness often proves to be the unsung hero: the teacher, the nurse, the mother, the honest cop, the hard worker at lonely, underpaid, unglamorous, unpublicized jobs.
The characteristic of genuine heroism is its persistency. All men have wandering impulses, fits and starts of generosity. But when you have resolved to be great, abide by yourself, and do not weakly try to reconcile yourself with the world. The heroic cannot be the common, nor the common the heroic.
I want to give you something.” He slid the ring off his finger. “Up until this week, I’ve never wanted anything more in my life than to wear this ring. Not as a piece of jewelry, but because I thought I could find meaning in saving others, in being a hero. But the meaning I’ve finally found in my life is from meeting you.” He set the ring on the palm of his hand and held it out. “I want you to have it.