The 4 Qualities of the American Hero in My Life

I have witnessed the good and the bad as a soldier in the U.S. Army. I have served in the military for more than 17 years, having the privilege of serving with some truly great people.

On Aug. 6, 2011, we lost an American hero when Chief Warrant Officer 2nd Class Bryan Nichols was killed in action during a mission in Afghanistan. Bryan was a decorated soldier, a pilot, a great friend, and a phenomenal husband and father. He was the absolute best of us, and he made the ultimate sacrifice—one that no one asks for.

When I consider the qualities of a hero, I think of Bryan, the epitome of a true American hero…

Related: Why I Served: 3 American Heroes Share Their Stories

1. Heroes are fearless.


“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” —Christopher Reeve


A hero will remain calm in a difficult situation—especially when a life is in their hands. They will never leave the side of a fallen comrade. A villain, on the other hand, flees at the first sight of difficulty, ignoring fallen comrades.

A hero will face fear head on, even in the face of inevitable defeat. A hero will never quit and finds the courage to stand tall. But a villain quits at the first sight of defeat.

2. Heroes are courageous.

When the boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for the American hero.

You can spot a hero not by looking for a cape, but by looking for a uniform with the American flag on their shoulder. Pay attention to those who run into danger.

The next time you watch the news, look for the soldier fighting the enemy on foreign soil; the firefighter running into a burning building; the police officer running toward gunfire.

An American hero recognizes that if they do not run toward the enemy, no one will. If they fail to stop the enemy, who will? The American hero is the one who confronts the things normal people are scared to face.

3. Heroes are confident.

You can spot an American Hero by the way they enter a room. The way they walk, talk and carry themselves with confidence makes them stand out.


“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt


4. Heroes have integrity.

An American hero recognizes the importance and the power of the mind. They understand that an individual’s mind has the ability to move the world forward. They do not simply fall in line or settle for the status quo.

The American hero is the rare person who is not afraid to stand for what they believe is right and just. They are not afraid to take a stand, even if they stand alone.

An American hero also understands the importance of time. They know that time is limited, especially time with their family. They eliminate people and things from their life that possess no value, and they do this so they can focus only on those important people in their life.

An American hero lives with purpose. They sacrifice for those who provide them meaning for their existence.

Related: 3 Inspiring Life Lessons I Learned From Everyday Heroes


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