My youngest child turned on one of our favorite movies last night, Captain America: The First Avenger.
As often happens with a movie I love and have watched a million times, I found something that made me think a bit more deeply. In this case, it was the scene where Steve willingly throws himself on the grenade while the other boot camp soldiers scramble for safety.
Now, spoiler if you haven’t seen the movie … we all know that it was a test that backfired on Tommy Lee Jones’ character, and the grenade was never going to explode. What got me thinking is that all the movie viewers understood the following things: grenades are dangerous, Steve didn’t know it wasn’t a live explosive, and he was willing to sacrifice himself; ergo, Steve was a hero before ever becoming Captain America.
And then my brain went to this: What about the people who have been jumping on proverbial explosives for almost two years, yet those watching didn’t believe it was a real grenade? What if they called it a fake from the get-go? At best, they would laugh at or ridicule the sacrificial soldier. At worst, they would seek to destroy the character and employment of said person while sitting comfortably behind multiple social media platforms.
We’ve seen that destruction happen time and time again. We’ve also seen many of those dangers, initially shrugged off, proven true six months or so later. Is heroism then acknowledged? Most often, those espousing degrading behavior simply double, or even triple down. Sounds pretty depressing, right?
I’m here to tell the Steve Rogers that you are seen and appreciated. People have been quiet for a long time, but your courage has them slowly emerging and speaking up. Your sacrifice, real or perceived, has not been in vain. Remember, Steve was a hero long before the shield, even if only a few people knew it at the time.