It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No- it’s Superman! We’ve all heard that before. Most everyone is familiar with the iconic “S”, or the gentleman dressed as a bat who patrols the night. The intrigue of superheroes has fascinated and captivated society for decades. Starting as comic books, then cartoon shows and now major box office hits; with the most recent marvel movie becoming the highest grossing film of all time!
There’s something about heroes that draws us in- that provokes our minds and peaks our interests. I personally am a huge fan of the popular movies and I’d speculate that part of the fascination is the respect for sacrifice and using what we have to serve a purpose greater than ourselves.
What some folks miss is that the heroes aren’t just in the movies. They don’t need super powers and come in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. Most don’t even like the term. That humility even further demonstrates the type of people they are. They are the people who rise up and serve their fellow people when they are needed most.
ATP recently had the absolute pleasure of being in a room full of such people. Our founder Jon Kolb was fortunate to be a participant in a panel discussion at the Heinz History Center, while they hosted Vietnam War veteran Rocky Bleier; to present their new Vietnam War exhibit as well as Rocky Bleier’s awesome book “Fighting Back”- you can visit Rocky’s website here. The panel included Marine and Steeler great, John Banaszak, Dr. Ben Stahl of the Veterans Leadership Program, and Dick Hughes, who although a conscientious objector, was actually one of the last Americans to leave Vietnam after the war and continues to serve the local children to this day. The night revolved around each person’s different experiences during that time and included a major theme of service.
One of the many impactful moments of the evening was when all veterans in the crowd were asked to stand and be recognized. The men and women present who served our country stood to a round of applause. However, no applause is loud enough or long enough to fully express the appreciation they deserve.
The fact of the matter is, as mentioned in the panel discussion, 1% of our nation fights to defend the freedom that the other 99% enjoy. These 1% are the ones who answer the call to serve a purpose higher than themselves when they were needed most. Each and every veteran displays a level of sacrifice and heroism that far too often goes unnoticed.
The reality remains that the experiences and circumstances our veterans face in such service, can leave them on the wrong side of hope when it is all said and done.
Each of us has the ability to serve. Also, service can look different to each of us. ATP’s Veterans Program was developed out of a need and call. While thousands of wonderful organizations exist to assist American veterans, not all of them exist to advance a veteran’s ability to experience a healthy, functional and physical life again. Our mission is to use our gifts to empower veterans and provide hope through movement.
Our veterans are those who step up when they are needed most. They are those who serve a purpose greater than themselves and lay it all on the line for each and every one of us. They fought so we can live free. It’s time for us all to step up, fight for them and serve those who served.
*ATP’s Veterans Program is dedicated to improving a veterans life through purposeful physical training, to provide freedom through movement and adventure and perform the tasks of daily living without the need of assistance. Your help can go a long way towards this mission. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to support ATP’s Veterans Program or donate here.