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  • Hero worship has died with heroes, and if someone bows down today, it is to pick up something.

  • Protagonists are always loners, almost by definition.

  • ... a great moment raises most of the people who experience it, to its own level; and that is why they do not always recognize its greatness — or their own.

  • Heroes are unpredictable. They can make nonsense of almost any obstacle.

  • The ages are but baubles hung upon / The thread of some strong lives — and one slight wrist / May lift a century above the dust ...

  • ... even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination, and ... such illumination may well come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and their works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and shed over the time-span that was given them on earth ...

  • Heroism is about taking an action which represents a breakthrough, and then assuming full responsiblity for it, even if it's a failure.

  • To be a hero, one must give an order to oneself.

  • We agreed that great men and women should be forced to live as long as possible. The reverence they enjoyed was a life sentence, which they could neither revoke nor modify.

  • ... greatness is to take the common things of life and walk truly among them ...

  • A hero in one age will be a hero in another.

  • The law has no power over heroes.

  • We continually want to unmask our heroes as if there were more to be learned from their nakedness than from their choice of clothing.

  • Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.

  • So when folk tell me of this great man and that great man, I think to myself. Who was stinted of joy for his glory? How many old folk and children did his coach wheels go over? What bridal lacked his song, and what mourner his tears, that he found time to climb so high?

  • I am weary seeing our laboring classes so wretchedly housed, fed, and clothed, while thousands of dollars are wasted every year over unsightly statues. If these great men must have outdoor memorials let them be in the form of handsome blocks of buildings for the poor ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1886, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Truly great people emit a light that warms the hearts of those around them.

  • [On gay ban in the military:] Heroism, I believe, is a trait that does not know race, color, creed, sex, or sexual orientation.

  • ... what is heroism? it is the deed of a great soul, capable of a great passion.

  • We seek him here, we seek him there, / Those Frenchies seek him everywhere. / Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell? / That demmed, elusive Pimpernel?

  • The athlete is not the one who decides whether or not they're a role model. It's the young kid out there who's watching you, and you respect that responsibility.

  • The cold hand of history, which is for ever robbing us of some of our oldest and best cherished stories, points rigidly to the fact that no such person as King Arthur ever presided over a Round Table. Be this as it may, romance still hugs her heroes to her heart as possessions to be not willingly let die.

  • Little girls need big girls to look up to.

  • Everyone loves a hero. What we differ on is the question of who the heroes are, because we differ over what matters. And who matters is a function of what matters. [If] what matters is intelligence, the people who matter are the intelligent, and the people who matter the most, the heroes, are the geniuses.

  • Those who share my heroes are, in the deepest sense, of my own kind.

  • Worship your heroes from afar; contact withers them.

  • The rich plankton of pop heroes and pop villains on which we Americans are accustomed to feed, the daily media soup of sports figures, ax murderers, politicians, and rock singers, the ever-running river of celebs, heavies, and oddballs that we use to spice up our own relatively humdrum lives has of late become a very watery gruel. Where have all the good guys and bad guys gone? Why does everyone out there look so gray?

  • The boy stood on the burning deck / Whence all but he had fled ...

    • Felicia Hemans,
    • "Casabianca," The Poetical Works of Felicia Dorothea Hemans ()
  • We tend to value military heroes and Schwarzenegger types who are physically courageous. The heroics of doing the right thing every day even when it is dull and inconvenient are undervalued.

    • Mary Pipher,
    • in Katherine Martin, Women of Courage ()
  • Is society debasing the idea of heroism by using it to describe anyone who makes people feel good about themselves?

    • Lena Williams,
    • "What It Takes to Make a Hero," in The New York Time ()
  • A hero is someone we can admire without apology.

    • Kitty Kelley,
    • "An 80-Year Hitting Streak," in The New York Times ()
  • Heroism is a badly remunerated occupation, and often it leads to an early end, which is why it appeals to fanatics or persons with an unhealthy fascination with death.