By Thomas L. Kelly (@Rushman07)
As a child, I revered you. No matter the odds, you always prevailed—the picturesque, and often statuesque, portrait of good triumphing over evil. You never failed to do the right thing, to foil the villainous plot, or to save the damsel in distress. In the simplest terms, you were the image of what a child should aspire to be. You were selfless.
You remain so to this day. Sure, there have been bumps in the road—moments of crisis that led you to question the very nature of your existence—yet you have not ever grown lost. That, above all, is a testament to who you are—not just as a hero, but as a man. There were many times you could have folded up the tent and packed in it, citing the unrelenting need of your service as a sign of failure. That is not you. You are incapable of waving the white flag. You battle, sometimes to a fatal fault, until the bitter end.
That resolve—in part, at least—is a credit to the lessons both of your fathers—that of earth and of Krypton—have imbued in you. It is ingrained in the fabric of your life’s journey.
Your story, much like that of many immigrants who have come to this country, is one of optimism. You came here with nothing—a boy alone and adrift in the cosmos. You were the last hope of a doomed people and also the greatest hope of a self-sabotaging one.
The pressures of that destiny are something few would embrace. You owed us nothing. You could have come here and simply built a life of your own. You could have ignored the rampant injustice that plagued our world, yet you did not. You knew that you were special. You understood that your unique abilities commanded more than to just be one of the millions that call our planet home.
That steadfast dedication to aid a world in need defines much of who you are. It is the essence of being a hero.
As I’ve matured, though, I have realized that you are truly much more than just the epitome of a hero. You are an ideal—a set of unwavering morals. You are the template for who we should strive to be as a people—an example of how we can all work together to create positive change. I am aware that you recognize that we can never accomplish the wonders that you make seem so routine. That isn’t the point. If we all just pitch in, even a little, than the world around us will be that much richer for it.
It takes something extraordinary to dedicate one’s self to such noble pursuits—to never cease fighting no matter the cultural climate that surrounds you. The lessons in your actions are ones we should all take to heart.
After all, you have witnessed not only all the good of our world, but some of the ugliest moments in our history, as well. You have battled the vile Ku Klux Klan and even pitched an impassioned plea for an end to nuclear proliferation. How you have not become jaded as the tide of contempt around you simmers is awe inspiring.
You have risen above it all, the beacon calling for each of us to be the best version of ourselves.
Over the last 80 years, much has changed, but not you. For some, that may make you less relevant; such a take is shortsighted. You are timeless. Your ability to remain a guiding light to those who seek a hero in the times they are most vulnerable will forever make you our most courageous champion.
And now, we need you more than ever. In a society divided, actions speak louder than words. Witnessing what you stand for—your unflinching willingness to be our guardian—should serve as our fundamental motivator, the driving force in constructing a culture of acceptance, tolerance, and empathy. Your deeds are the light we so desperately need as the world around us becomes ever darker.
There’s so much more that I could say, but I am sure that you are busy. Thus, I will end with this: Thank you for always being my inspiration.
Happy 80th, Superman!