Have we run out of heroes and role models?

Have we run out of heroes and role models?

Hardly. They’re out there and in great numbers but you won’t hear about them unless they make it on YouTube or other social networking on the Internet.

Daily newspapers editors note that it has to be a unique story to take up precious space in their river of ink. Television network news producers have only 17 minutes to cover the world in a half-hour program. Cable TV, with its wall-to-wall coverage, has the time but not the inclination to seek out daily heroes. Maybe it’s a ratings thing.

Some of my achievers include James Mercer Langston Hughes who was born in Joplin, Mo., in 1902. He achieved acclaim through his sixteen books of poetry and became known as the “Poet Laureate of the Negro Race.” He also wrote children books, 20 plays and autobiographies.

Consider our own President Harry S. Truman, a farm boy who became the 33rd president of the U.S. Many historians rate him in the top 10 presidents. Aside from his many admirable traits, he should be emulated for his perseverance, his unwavering, humble respect for the office of the presidency, for his convictions and leadership.

One to emulate is known the world over, and his impressive likeness is ready for dedication on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. A 30-foot-high sculpture of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. will feature a 450-foot-long granite wall with 14 of his most memorable quotations, including his famous “I Have A Dream Speech” following his March on Washington.

As for common folk, some members of my own family belong in the “Role Models Hall of Fame.” Including my mother, my aunt and now my brave sister Donna. She is a cancer survivor fighting a rare case of myeloma for the past six years along with other maladies. And the story should be told of my brother-in-law, Mike, who has subjected himself to every new drug that combats hepatitis C ever since he caught it in a botched blood transfusion 20 years ago.

Heroes where all around me when we started the Kansas City Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America, and if you look hard enough you’ll find them too, perhaps in the mirror.

I give your President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.