Heroes are the men and women who step up in times of crisis. They charge into burning buildings and rush toward disaster zones. They defend us against bullies and bad guys, and they stay on their jobs when others retreat. We appreciate our heroes because they inspire us and give us hope. They help us in times of need, and they do their duty while others are fleeing and hiding. We appreciate our heroes on special days like Veteran’s Day and anniversaries of their heroic acts. But do we understand the toll it takes on them and their families?
Being a hero entails sacrifice and putting others in front of self. Our military men and women not only fight bad guys but give aid and support to vulnerable populations. Our first responders put their safety at risk when responding to disasters or calls for help. Our health care workers stood at the front line to treat patients when an unknown disease sickened their communities. Every day, mothers and fathers put their children’s welfare in front of their own by working long hours to put food on the table or sacrificing for their education.
The qualities that heroes have: bravery, courage, resourcefulness, duty, honor, and sacrifice are still needed today. We need men to stand up for what’s right and women to nurture the weak and helpless. People to hold the line for freedom and individual liberty against the dark side of totalitarianism and mind control.
I’m grateful for all heroes: the police who catch criminals, the firefighters who save lives and homes, the military who secure our freedoms, the pastors who preach the Bible, the parents who protect the children, the essential workers who did their jobs, the patriots who stand against tyranny, and most of all, God who gave us his only begotten Son.
Forgive me for being sentimental. The 20th anniversary of September 11 just passed by, and while the ending of the war was not what we expected, it does not in any way diminish the heroism of the policemen, firefighters, and rescuers who charged into the buildings or all of the many military men and women who held the line against terrorists and warlords. They battled at tremendous personal cost and we owe them continued gratitude. Who knows how many attacks were prevented by their sacrifice?
Many years ago, I wrote about an Afghanistan War veteran, Tyler Manning, who returned home disillusioned and suffering from PTSD. He was homeless, subjected to flashbacks, and had lost his faith. It took a tiny four-year-old girl, Bree Kennedy, to see something special about him as he sat underneath a Christmas tree scavenging thrown-away food from a mall food court. I wish the war had ended better, but I know his effort was not wasted. Tyler’s story became a three-part Christmas series called: A Veteran’s Christmas.
In book 1, A Father for Christmas, Bree finds Tyler under a Christmas tree and brings him back to society and a romance with Bree’s mom, Kelly.
In book 2, A Pet for Christmas, Tyler returns to Afghanistan to work at a charity he founded, only to have it blown to bits. He and his translator then embark on a daring escape from Afghanistan with the help of a stray Kuchi dog.
In Book 3, A Wedding for Christmas, Tyler gets involved with a former Afghan female soldier and helps her get off the streets–all while trying to juggle his wedding to Bree’s mom, Kelly
Check out the first book, A Father for Christmas FREE.
So let us remember to honor our heroes every day and to let them inspire us to give a helping hand and nurture those in need. All of us can be an every day hero by standing up for the values and ideals that made our country great and by giving our time, labor, and care to others. Like the children’s song says, JOY is Jesus, Others, You with yourself last.
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Rachelle Ayala is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance and romantic suspense. Her foremost goal is to take readers on a shared emotional journey with her characters as they grow and become more true to themselves. Rachelle believes in the power of love to overcome obstacles and feels that everyone should find love as often as possible, especially if it’s within the pages of a book.
Her book, Knowing Vera, won the 2015 Angie Ovation Award, A Father for Christmas garnered a 2015 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, Christmas Stray received a 2016 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award, and Playing for the Save got the 2017 Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in Realistic Fiction.
She is also a writing teacher and founder of the Romance In A Month writing community. She lives in California with her husband and has three children and two birds.