A child whose 911 call during a tense situation results in police in just the nick of time is not a hero.
An athlete who sacrifices victory to help an injured opponent is not a hero.
A former drug addict who starts rehab and prevention services is not a hero.
Not all soldiers are heroes. Not all police or firemen are heroes. Not all surgeons performing life-saving procedures are heroes.
My point is not to disparage anyone. These are examples of good people making noble and difficult or even brave choices. I just think reporters, filmmakers, songwriters, and people in general overuse the term.
"When everyone is special, no one is." The truth of that is obvious. But what if only half of people are "special"? Or only ten percent? Or one in a hundred? One in a thousand?
The more rarely a word of praise is applied, the more significant it becomes. Can "hero" be restored to its proper sublimity?
When would you use or not use the word? Must one save a life, or many, to be a hero? What about saving souls? Can a mentor who saves a person from self-destruction, guiding that person to a productive and joyful lifestyle, be a hero?
Should "heroic" be equally rare? Or, like "poetic", does that adjective signify something that is merely similar to the noun from which it is derived?
What's a hero?