Vietnam War Heroism

1359 Words 6 Pages
Americans have long held onto and celebrated heroes, but the idea of a hero has changed over time. This occurred very obviously in the 1970s and 1980s especially and the results of this change are still resounding today. Heroism before the 70s and 80s was usually defined as brave and selfless acts for a noble cause. Abraham Lincoln, Daniel Boone, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King Jr., for example, fit this definition of heroism. However, this time period represents the shift from the idea of a romantic figure serving a moral purpose as a hero to what a person represents making them heroic. In addition, it represents a changing idea of war and that war does not necessarily need combatants and soldiers to be a war, but there still needs …show more content…
After it ended, however, Americans forgot most of what had caused the anger and horror during the war in terms of the atrocities committed by American troops and instead portrayed it as if Americans had suffered equally as much. Americans, especially politicians, used this idea to heal the self-image of America. In my opinion, many Americans used the Tehran hostage crisis, being the first widely publicized conflict following the Vietnam War, as a way to go back to the idea of America as the victim of wrongful doing. The media’s constant coverage and portrayal also played into this as it whipped up intense feelings of nationalism and xenophobia towards Muslims, much like it did when the nation was at war. Despite this, no military conflict broke out. I argue that many Americans viewed the crisis as a war and that because no combatants took part in the crisis, the role of victor and hero fell to the hostages themselves even though they did not do anything that would have previously qualified them as heroes. In addition, the perpetualization of the idea that the hostages represented America and that it was “America held hostage” probably helped fuel the treatment of the hostages as heroes because if the hostages became heroes then America became a hero …show more content…
Free enterprise had a role “in making the United States the greatest and most profitable of all nations.” Entrepreneurs became the protectors of free enterprise. This made them heroes because they protected and served the interests of the nation. Introduced in the mid-90s, Moreton’s example of SIFE-Man simply served as a visual representation of that idea. SIFE-Man did not represent some super human figure nor homo economicus and that was the point. SIFE-Man’s superhero appearance was simply an easily understandable concept of a hero used to show that an ordinary human, an entrepreneur, protecting free enterprise was also a hero. Although SIFE-Man no longer parades around elementary schools, the idea of entrepreneurs as heroes remains prevalent today. President Obama called entrepreneurs the “bridge” and the “glue” that provides opportunity and leads to peace and prosperity. The Democratic Platform this year seeks to help equal opportunity by creating entrepreneurial programs for women, people of color, Native Americans, and rural America. Because of business leader’s movement during the late 70s into the 80s and the 90s, America still sees itself as a nation of innovation and entrepreneurship and the protectors of free enterprise

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