Recently, I was sitting at an airport terminal waiting to board a plane when a man dropped into the seat next to mine. He nodded to me and said, “How’re you doing?” I looked at him and said, “Well, that depends on whether you’re a bad guy or a hero. Those are your two choices.” He smiled; he understood. As we boarded, everybody on that plane was looking at everybody else, scanning their faces, wondering the same thing—are you a bad guy or a hero?
One of the best things to come out of the Sept. 11 attack on America is that masculinity has been restored to its rightful place of honor. After a generation of merciless male-bashing in the wake of feminism’s contempt of men, it’s a good and fine thing to be a man again, and I for one love it. It seems that men are walking taller and more proudly, more confident in themselves. Young men flooded to the armed forces, ready to defend their country and grateful to be able to DO SOMETHING about such a heinous attack on America.
We have been reminded what true heroes look like: not sports figures, not entertainers, but the men of Flight 93 who controlled their fear to overtake terrorists and crash a plane into a field instead of a building. True heroes look like the firefighters who ran up the stairwells of doomed, burning buildings to rescue people going down. True heroes look like the police officers who helped people get away from the World Trade Center as they deliberately put themselves in harm’s way. And now that we remember what a true hero is, we’re seeing long overdue displays of gratitude for the public servants who risk their lives so the rest of us can be safe. Recently a local elementary school invited firemen to a school assembly where they had festooned the auditorium with banners, balloons and posters thanking them for their service. When the group of men entered the room, the kids went absolutely wild with cheers and applause. You’d have thought it was an N’Sync concert!
I’m thankful for the perspective my husband provided on this: he observed that men are able to be men because women are letting them. It seems that unless we women show men the respect and honor due them in their masculinity, they won’t fight for it and many will retreat into a most unmanly passivity. But in the attacks on our country, many women have lost our sense of security and we’re more in touch with how much we need to be protected. Thank the Lord for His plan that men be strong and self-sacrificing as they rise to the occasion in protecting us! Masculinity is a beautiful strength. God knew what He was doing when He made men men. It’s one more way He’s bringing glory to Himself in the aftermath of 9/11.