Every few years we are reminded, for better or for worse, what a true hero is. Just before 9/11 Bud Light was running radio ads entitled Real American Heroes. In these ads an announcer describes to us how the guy who invented the drink umbrella that keeps our drink a few degrees cooler by shading it is a Real American Hero while a cheesy rock ballad singer expounds its virtues in the background. After 9/11 when we were painfully reminded that one type of hero is someone who runs into a burning building while everyone else is running out Bud Light quietly changed the title of the radio ads to Real Men of Genius.
Today Les Paul died at age 94. For those of you who dont know Les Paul invented the solid body guitar and multi track recording. Multi track recording basically allows all the instruments and voices to have their own dedicated track on a recording. Every type of music, TV show, commercial and movie made today uses multi track recording in some way or another. Think about that for a few seconds. Everything we hear on the radio, CD, MP3, TV, and DVD uses this basic premise. Everything. Now think about your favorite band. Chances are they have a guitar. Chances are they have at least one solid body guitar if not more they use constantly. The enormity of Les Pauls contribution to music and other forms of entertainment cannot be over stated. Was he a hero? No. Not really. Was he a visionary? Absolutely! Will his inventions be around for a very, very long time? Yes.
Another thing happened today. A hero came home. The remains of Navy pilot Michael Scott Speicher were returned home after 18 years of being buried in an unmarked grave in Iraq. Who was he? He was the first official US casualty in the first Gulf War when his FA-18 Hornet was shot down on the first night of the war. Why did we bother? He deserved to come home. We are the only nation on Earth that actively searches out its fallen soldiers and brings them home. The US Government is the ONLY government in the world that has an entire branch dedicated to the return of all fallen service men and women. This branch is called Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the members are ready to go around the world at a moments notice to search for a fallen US Soldier. Why? Well, quite frankly, those fallen soldiers gave up their lives fighting for us. They gave them up for you and me. It is the absolute least that we can do as a Nation. When they joined up for military service they promised to protect and defend us. We in return have promised to never stop looking for them and bring them home no matter what.
I think we got the better part of the deal.