Anderson Cooper of CNN, who heroically brought us
news from Iraq and who will now bring us a show
about our American heroes.

There has been a lot of talk here in the U.S. since 9/11 about heroes.
A lot of talk. We were quick to acknowledge the heroes of 9/11, the
firefighters and the police did heroic things, they were all heroes,
and the other law enforcement personnel and emergency medical people
also were all heroes for what they did surrounding that tragedy, not
to mention the heroic actions of civilians, as well as the heroism
displayed by people in government for keeping things from getting even
crazier and of protecting us from anything else that might have been in
the works. Following 9/11, not many months later, we invaded Afghanistan,
and our soldiers fought heroically and are still fighting to eliminate
the Taliban. Then we invaded Iraq; and our troops, all heroes, did heroic
things for which we gave some of these heroes a medal such as the Silver
Star or, if they were even more heroic, perhaps a Congressional Medal of
Honor. Day in and day out since the war began we have supported our heroic
troops by putting signs up reading "support our heroic troops" or something
along those lines. And of course we shouldn't forget the heroic actions of
the Iraqi and Afghani people themselves, who braved the storm heroically
and went to the polls and voted in historic and heroic elections. And there
were plenty of behind the scenes heroes at work too, people in the C.I.A.
who fight terrorism in heroic fashion worldwide, and of course we should
mention the heroes in the Department of Homeland Security who have kept
us safe here at home. In all of this we should add the heroic members of
the media who have risked their lives to bring us reports on all that is
going on. We should also remember the heroic actions of doctors in
Afghanistan, Iraq, and other troubled areas who tried their best to fix
people up, sometimes with very little resources. But none of this heroism
would be possible without tax dollars, provided through many years now by
the American people, who because of that should also be considered heroes.
Then too we should mention the heroism of the teachers who teach our kids
so that they won't be stupid and have to work at really bad jobs — which
to be honest some of them end up working at anyway, and I think to flip
burgers for low wages is truly heroic so let's make sure they get mentioned
also. And on a personal note, I would like to mention the heroism of my
upstairs neighbor who has terminal cancer and my downstairs neighbor
who has some sort of brain disability and the neighbor across the hall who
has heroically struggled with schizophrenia throughout his life. I would
also like to mention the heroic actions of the people at my grocery store
who provide me with groceries, without which I would starve to death. And
of course the farmers and truck drivers who show great heroism getting up
at the crack of dawn or driving all night to get my food to the grocery
in the first place. And, speaking of food, I should definitely mention
the starving and heroic people of Darfur. And anybody else who has fought
oppression or who have been the victims of oppression across the years,
the Irish who fought the English and the English who fought the Spanish
and the Spanish who fought the Germans and the Germans who fought the
French. But getting back to my own neighborhood again, my mom is a hero
in my book, as is every good mom, and I think my little dog Sasha is a
hero for bringing me kisses when I'm not feeling good — or actually
kisses pretty much at any time. And while I'm on the subject of dogs,
I would like to thank the heroic bomb-sniffing and drug-sniffing dogs
that work here in the U.S. who keep me safe from bombs and away from a
serious cocaine addiction. Heroic dogs also hunt for missing people or
sniff for people trapped in buildings, putting their own personal safety
to the side in a manner most heroic. And then there are the air traffic
controllers, who heroically work every day, 24/7, to make sure that
airplanes don't come crashing down on my house. All of this reminds me
very much of Homer, who wrote of the heroes Odysseus and Achilles, and
of course let's not forget perhaps the original hero, Herakles. But Homer
isn't the only one to praise the heroes of our world. In fact Anderson
Cooper has a show on television which focuses on heroes. And of course
there is a show called that — Heroes — which I have never watched
but which I'm sure has many heroic characters doing whatever it is they
do on that show, although from what I've heard those people might be more
akin to superheroes — but why quibble about the fine points of terminology
at this point. And last, but not least, let's mention simply everybody,
every decent sort out there who is breathing, who, day in and day out,
manage to live on this crazy frigging little planet but who nevertheless
are able to squeeze some modicum of happiness out of life — heroes all
in my book.