Peak Perspectives: Real Heroes, Masked And Unmasked

December 24, 2020

2020’s been difficult for all of us, so this December Matt Cavanaugh’s turned Peak Perspectives’ microscope on heroes and heroism. This is the fourth of a five-part series.

On this Christmas Eve, and for most of my life, I’ve worn a military uniform. You wouldn’t be surprised that sometimes I hear someone say, “thank you for your service.” It’s always appreciated, but I want to point out that far too often we overlook the real heroes here at home.

Think about this past year. The firefighters where we live, in Bear Creek Park and Manitou, out in other parts of Colorado. Sometimes, they’re all that stands between our fellow citizens and certain devastation.

Or the medical profession that fights fires at the microscopic level in the deadly war against our common enemy, COVID-19.

It’s hard not to spot the heroism in those that run toward the fire and the flames. They keep the bad from getting worse.

But others, in a quieter way, also keep us on life’s better path. Their public service is equally meaningful, particularly because they care for our youngest and oldest.

I couldn’t do my military job overseas without the support of this enormous public service community here at home: cops, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, doctors, TSA professionals, teachers, librarians, all those that keep us fed and warm and happy and healthy, and the cornucopia of others that serve our entire American public.

These heroes don’t wear capes. They’re all wearing masks right now, because they care more about the safety of others than any minor personal inconvenience.

Society is a mutual dependence on the heroism of our fellow humans. This largeness transcends any petty smallness that divides us. We’re stronger together. We need one another.

Be good, be well, be sure to clear brush from your home to protect from fire. Until next week, no matter what, climb on.


Peak Perspectives is a weekly segment written and voiced by Matt Cavanaugh, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army and a resident of Manitou Springs, where he lives with his wife and two young children. Through his writing, Cavanaugh explores life in the Pikes Peak region, including the gradients and subtleties of our lives in the shadow of America's Mountain. 

You can find more work by Cavanaugh here.

KRCC's Abigail Beckman manages the "Peak Perspectives" series. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of KRCC or Colorado Public Radio.

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