I greatly enjoyed a recent post by opher goodwin concerning his favorite heroes. So, this is a hat-tip to him. His post made me sit down and think of those I considered my heroes. Those who have inspired me and affected my life and world view. So here they are. They are in no particular order. I didn’t just come up with a specific number… I just started listing. I know I’ll slap my forehead soon for forgetting someone.
Now this is a list that does not include personal heroes (relatives, teachers, friends, etc... ant that list is long) that others would not know. I also limited this list to mere mortals.
Instead of posting this as a comment... I thought I would just do my own post since this is so long and it stands on it's on. Again, thanks are extended to OG.
Please Note... portions and tidbits of some descriptions are paraphrased from Wikipedia... with added Lynn J. insight.
Trolls... please spare me (and my readers) the vitriol concerning the sins of these men/women. (I know this plea won't work... but that little X will.) Each was flawed as we all are. Intelligent, thoughtful criticism is fine.
George Washington - Founding Father and the first (and greatest) President of the United States. Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and largely responsible for winning American independence. He could have been king but chose liberty for all instead. He could have served for life as President but was too wise to do so. He set the example for generations to follow. He is truly the "father of our country"
Thomas Jefferson - Founding Father, principle author of the Declaration of Independence, and third President of the United States. Supported the notion of states’ rights over a strong centralized federal government. Transacted the Louisiana purchase. Generations of Americans owe much of our liberty to this man.
Alexander Hamilton - Founding Father and Revolutionary commander under Washington. He was instrumental in the creation of the U.S. Constitution and was coauthor of the Federalist Papers which explained and promoted the U.S. constitution before adoption. He and I would have disagreed on several aspects of government; but he was instrumental in the founding of the United States of America.
Ronald Reagan - 40th President of the United States and one of the best U.S. President of the 20th century. Won the cold war. As "the great communicator" he ushered in prosperity that lasted decades beyond his term. He was my first hero on a national scale after the "malaise" of the Nixon, Ford, and Carter years.
Winston Churchill - Prime Minister of United Kingdom during WWII and crucial in the defeat of fascism. His efforts, especially early in the war saved Britain and by extension Europe, and the world from unimaginable socialist, communist, and fascist evil. If not for Churchill we would likely be speaking German (or at least our masters would).
The Apostle Paul - Formerly Saul of Tarus, Paul was a Jew and a Roman citizen which put him in the unique position to bring the gospel to both. Thus, he is credited with bringing Christ to the Gentiles like no other man could. Much (about half) of the New Testament is generally credited to Paul. While I identify personally with the impulsive Apostle Peter; the more scholarly writings of Paul were a huge influence in my acceptance of Christ as God, man, and Messiah.
C.S. Lewis - British novelist, professor, and theologian. He and J.R.R. Tolkein were close friends at Oxford. Lewis is a prolific author on Christian doctrine and philosophy. His works include Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia and many others. He has been called "The Apostle to the Skeptics" due to his late in life conversion to Christianity and his ability to explain his conversion in a logical manner to such skeptics (see Mere Christianity). Tolkien supposedly had some influence in that conversion.
J.R.R. Tolkein - British novelist, professor and father of classic "high fantasy" literature. His works, of course, include The Hobbit, and the Lord of the Ring trilogy. These books were what primed my interest in reading in general in my early life thus gifting me with the works of many great authors.
Ayn Rand - Escaping the brutality of Russian communism in the mid-20s; Ayn Rand was the author of The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged; the latter of which had a profound influence on my world view. Rand objectively rejected the evils she escaped and embraced American democracy and capitalism as virtuous. The only thing from her old country she kept was her virulent atheism. While I cannot say that I fully embraced her philosophy of "Objectivism" which is more Libertarian; what she gets right she really gets right.
Charles Krauthammer - Pulitzer Prize winning author, and the best of all political and social commentators (of which there are several I admire). A brilliant mind and writer on a wide range of subjects; he has been a tremendous influence on my conservative (and logical) world view. Here are two examples of general truths Krauthammer helped me to see clearly... 1) "To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law: Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil." 2) "Bush Derangement Syndrome: the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush."... this paranoia and irrationality has been proven to be easily transferable in the liberal mind in the years that followed.
Fanny Crosby - 19th Century missionary, lyricist, and composer. Blind since birth, she wrote thousands of gospel songs still found in hymnals today. I often look for and find her name in hymnals. She wrote the very popular hymn "Blessed Assurance", one of my favorites perhaps only surpassed by "Amazing Grace".
Jeff Lynn - English songwriter, composer, singer, and record producer. The lead musician for the rock band, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) in the 70s and 80s. He co-founded the Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty. His original band (ELO) easily became my favorite all time; and his work with other artists (including those in the Traveling Wilburys) has been phenomenal. Jeff Lynn wrote my favorite song of all time "Mr Blue Skies".
Davy Crockett - An American folk-hero, prolific hunter, and politician. Her personified American self-reliance and the frontier spirit. He was a member of the House of Representatives from Tennessee for two contentious terms during the Andrew Jackson years. Voted out of office for a second time, he told the voters, "I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas." He did and fought in the early Texas Revolution. He died among the other heroes of the Alamo.
Will Rogers - Cowboy, movie actor, vaudeville performer, humorist, columnist, comedian, and social commentator. Will Rogers folksy style imbued him to Americans in the 20s and 30s. He had a way of poking fun and bringing out the truth in ways that didn't offend. Two of his many, many famous quotes are "I never met a man I didn't like" and "I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat." :) His wit, humor and wisdom survive today and have provided me with many hours of laughter and contemplation.
Martin Luther King Jr - Baptist minister and civil rights activists; I admire his approach in the advancement of civil rights during the 60s that emphasized nonviolence and civil disobedience. These I think were heavily influenced by his Christian beliefs. His speeches are rife with Christian and biblical ideas and references. He was a great example of how a Christian man is to handle adversity.