A kid is supposed to look up to his dad. If that dad leads by example, he might just be fortunate enough to be considered a hero by his child. By definition, a hero is someone who is greatly admired. A dad who is doing his job as a father should be greatly admired.
When a label such as fireman, military personnel, policeman or emergency squad member is added to a dad's name, there's the possibility he could become a hero in other people's eyes as well. The definition of hero can be expanded to someone who is admired for great or brave acts of fine qualities.
I grew up the son of a volunteer firefighter who was also a member of the firefighting crew where he worked.
I was fortunate to spend a lot of time around ordinary men who did extraordinary things when called upon.
I loved going to the firehouse with my dad and being able to be around firemen. They were great guys who knew kids admired them and would make a youngster's visit to their home-away-from-home one to remember. That included letting them sit on the truck cab or stand on the back of the truck. Some put helmets or jackets or boots on kids. Often, photos were taken.
Like I said, these were ordinary guys who could do extraordinary things. Many of the firefighters were cited for their bravery. While a plaque might have hung on a wall to showcase the achievement, I can't remember one fireman who ever went up to someone and started the conversation with, "Hi, welcome to the firehouse. My name is John Smith, and I'm a hero."
Heroes, most of the time, shy away from such things. They also don't label themselves as such. It's more often someone else who saddles that tag on them. There is some humility in being a hero.
A photograph taken Sept. 11 that accompanied a story by Index-Journal reporter Frank Bumb sparked multiple comments on the newspaper's website. The photo was of 3-year-old Cooper Chrisley sitting in an Abbeville fire truck as the community remembered the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Chrisley attended the memorial service with his stepdad, Marcus Bonds, who is a fireman in Abbeville.


The memorial service honored those who lost their lives on 9/11, which included firefighters and police, emergency and military personnel.
It was also a time to educate.
Who knows? It probably will be a few years down the road before Chrisley understands the significance of the day and why we remember it. And, maybe even a few more years further down the road, he might just become a fireman himself.
It's interesting a little guy who wasn't even a thought in his parents' minds in 2001 sparked comments on the newspaper's website about an event that should be applauded rather than questioned.
My dad was years removed from his firefighting days, but that didn't stop him from helping the days following the attacks in 2001. I was on the telephone with him the morning of 9/11 as he stood on decking and looked toward New York City, watching smoke pour from the World Trade Center towers while I watched on TV.
In the days after the attacks, he was among those who helped take supplies to New York City.
For me, my dad will forever be connected to 9/11. So will a man I know who was in one of the towers and helped people leave the building before it came crashing down. Luckily, he made it out, too.
For me, they're both heroes. Neither knew what was going to happen to them but still did what was needed to be done and disregarded the possibility of being harmed.
We've all heard of heroes who are noted on a grand scale. Douglas McArthur, George Patton, John Glenn, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Neil Armstrong are a few who come to mind.
For every notable hero, there are many more who receive recognition, but on a much smaller level. That doesn't diminish their importance. In fact, these are the heroes we should applaud even more.
We need heroes. Thank goodness, we have them.

Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at jsitarz@indexjournal.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.