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Heroes Day

Did you know that today is the national day of heroes in the country of Angola?

Other countries have “Heroes” days too. Bahamas, East Timor, Hungary, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Namibia, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the United Kingdom also have “Heroes Day”. But those are on different days.

Angola celebrates Heroes Day today. In Angola they celebrate the life of Agostinho Neto, who was their president. He was, in fact, their first president because he helped Angola become a free and independent country. He was also a poet. He died very young, only 56 years old but he is the hero of Angola because he helped his country to become free.

So, what does it mean to be “a hero”? Do you need to be a superhero, like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, or The Black Panther? It is difficult to say. There are many ideas about what is the meaning of “hero”. Some people say it is a person who has a pure heart. They say that it is a person who helps other people. It is a person who gives everything they have to support and serve other people.

The idea of “hero” is something that we learn about in poems and stories. The Heike Monogatari is a story that is full of heroes. They are men who fight, and they are men who are brave. They are men who have a code in their hearts. Nitobe, in his book, Bushido, has many important points to teach us about the meaning of “hero”.

But is a hero only a strong person? Is a hero only a person who can fight with a katana? Is a hero only a person with special powers?

Did you know that your culture has many great heroes to learn about? There are many great and inspirational people in Japanese history for you to learn about and discover. Please talk with your Japanese history teachers to get more information. Japanese literature and history is full of great examples of classic heroes.

One hero in Japanese history that I really like is Sugihara Chiune. Sugihara-san saved so many people in World War 2. He is a hero that many people do not know much about. When the German army was coming to kill many Jewish people, Sugihara-san saved them through making documents so they could escape and be safe. History shows us that he saved many, many thousands of people because of his actions. He is a great hero.

These stories are very important for us to know. They teach us how to be better people. But it may be possible that ordinary every-day people can be heroes too. Did you help someone recently? Did you do something kind for another person? Did you talk to a person who has no friends? Did you think about something that you can do to make your home, or your city, a better and healthier place to live? Did you think that maybe if we live a good life and try our best to help other people we can make a better world?

There are all kinds of heroes. We don’t see them easily, but they are there. Heroes help other people. Heroes serve other people? Heroes make our world cleaner, and safer, and healthier.

I think that if you look carefully around, you might find heroes near your home. And maybe, if you want to do something good for other people, you may become a hero too.