EDITORIAL: Learning from heroes

We throw around the concept of “hero” rather loosely in our modern culture. We place the title upon athletes, rock stars, politicians and others whose abilities are hailed by the masses. Too often, these “heroes” are only pale imitations of what real heroism is all about.

We met the real deal last week when we interviewed Germaine Vu (See Page 1). What she has accomplished in her life is a testament to the virtues that true heroes emulate. She overcame family hardship, civil war, oppression, emigration to a new land and a prejudiced culture and made a positive life for herself and her family. In her determination to honor her former boss, Lawrence Learned, himself a hero for the way he cared for the poor in South Vietnam more than 30 years ago, she models a dignity and maturity we seldom see these days in our disrespectful, trash-talking, self-inflated society.

Germaine Vu came to America because she felt our country had a lot to offer her-freedom above all, and a better education for her son. As it turns out, she offers us so much in return.

“Children in America have everything,” she says. “Sometimes they don’t pay attention and don’t respect old people. They don’t know how hard their parents work to provide them all with clothes, education, because it’s so easy with them.”

“I still teach my kids how to follow my culture,” she added. “Even when they grow up, they have to respect elderly people, and help people who need help. Even a neighbor or friend. Every time they need help, we’ll be there. That’s what I teach them. And I am proud that they did a lot.”

In a land where we so often think we have so much to give, we also have so much to learn.

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