Since I first discovered this site when I was a teenager, I have made an effort to strive to be the best Man I could be. Part of that means learning as I go along, but another part is by taking lessons from other Great Men of History. My heroes include:
- Theodore Roosevelt: The Man is a hero of mine since reading "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" by Edmund Morris. He personifies the idea of taking life by the horns and going for it.
- Sean Connery: yes, I know he is an Actor, but DAMN is he a cool Actor. The man not only 007, personifying the cool Bond before Daniel Craig saved the francise once more, but his life is an exciting one at that.
- Francisco "Pancho" Villa: For those unaware, he was a Mexican Revolutionary who rose up through humble beginnigs to combat his country's corrupt regime and fought for his beliefs. He was by no means a perfect man, but then again he wasn't trying to be.
- Andrew Carnegie: He also rose from humble beginnings to become one of the wealthiest men in America. He may have skirted the law at times and conducted scrupulous dealings at time, but he made a huge impact on the world today. His Philosophy on life and finance are a must read for any young person today.
- Winston Churchill: The man was the embodiment of courage under fire, having strenth when it was in short supply. He was quotable, likeable, and above all, he had BEARING!
- Ernest Hemingway: An excellent writer who can say in 2 words what others needed 5 for. He personal life was also an extravegant bit of business. 3
- Chesty Puller: Wikipedia him if you need to. I won't do him any justice here.
These are the people who's example I try to follow. They weren't perfect and they made mistakes, but they lived their lives as best they could. In a time when people are more focused in the mundane, their legacy is my inspiration to consistently challenge my believes and live my life on my terms; to avoid any rut I may get into, and get out of my comfort zone. I could go on but I think you all get the gist of it.
While I know and acknowledge that we all have loved ones who have had an impact on our lives, I'm interested in knowing if there is anyone out there who's life has been affected or changed by the life of another person they may never have met.
So here is where my curiosity comes to fruition. Who are *your* role models and why?
Always liked Patton ... who, incidentally, saw his first combat in the manhunt for Pancho Villa.
My understanding was that he took several troops and a few supply vehicles on an off-mission tangent to the front door of some of Villa's lieutenants, who had made incursion into New Mexico, and gunned them down in the middle of the street. It was apparently the first motorized attack in US history ... and earned him the title "bandit killer" in the papers.
I was going to add Patton as well. The man may have had an ego but Damn, could he fight. When he fought againts Erwin Rommel in the dust plains of Africa, he reportedly shouted "Rommel... you magnificent bastard, I read your book!".
I always liked that quote.
As it turns out Patton and Puller were distant cousins. Guess greatness runs in the blood.
He invented a very nasty sabre as well. I've read his manual for cavalry fencing, in which he goes into great detail on the psychology of what makes a great warrior. That in and of itself is an interesting look at the psychology of the man.
This article covers a little of his sabre and Olympic fencing in 1912: http://www.generalpatton.org/Patton_Saber/PattonSaber_Fall04.htm
The local gunshop, Rayco, has one of Pancho Villa's revolvers for sale ($3,600.?) The short story is that Pancho Villa bought it and sent it to a US gunsmith to scrimshaw eagle head ivory grips. He made the news before the grips were done so the gunsmith refused to send them to him. Just in case you might like to own a little piece of history that you admire for a whole lot less than Patton's ivory handled revolver would set you back.
Wow, I had never know that, Thanks for sharing.
I enjoy little tid-bits like those that may get lost in the telling of story. They make history all the more enjoyable.
The men who influenced me most are completely unsung in the grand historical sense. Yet, they made their mark anyway.
My role models as a kid were men I knew. My Dad, Gene. Not a warm man, nor prone to praising his kids. However, he would go war for his children, and did so on occasion. He along with sgt. Bob Wilde, went to rescue Dad's brother Bill. Bill's unit was cut off on the north shoulder of the Bulge (12/22/44). Dad was told by a radio operator than his brother's unit was in deep trouble. Bob Wilde "borrowed" a "deuce and a half" with a .50 MG and drove through German lines with all the ammo and medical supplies they could steal. They drove out under fire with 6 wounded, including Bill. They made three more round trips bringing in more supplies and out with wounded and sick. When they reported back to their artillery unit that evening, their truck shot to pieces from 8mm rounds and mortar shrapnel, they were arrested for being AWOL. The next day, Bill's Regimental Commander tracked them down. When he found out that they were in trouble, he visited the Division Commander and set things right.
Many years later, as Bill was at the end of his life in a VA nursing facility, dad visited him every day. Every day. Dad was not well himself, but he sat there every day and talked with his brother. He was there, holding Bill's hand when Bill passed. My dad taught me the value of family and showed me the true meaning of love and loyalty.
Jack Burgess... Kind, gentle giant of a man. Yet, he accepted no disrespect from anyone. He always showed me great kindness. Treated me like one of his sons. Taught me how to drive (an old Ford sedan with a 3 speed column shifter). Taught me the value of quiet strength.
Fred Burgess, Jack's middle son. About 8 years older than me. Fred was the toughest guy I ever met. No one could intimidate Fred. Today, he's a retired Fire Chief.
Johnny Egan... In the first wave to land on Omaha Beach. Wounded four times that morning, he led his men over the sea wall and battled inland until he collapsed from blood loss.
Kenneth Robinson, my 5th grade teacher. Mr. Robinson was in his 50s, and much beloved by generations of his students. He taught me how to focus my energy towards a goal. Always supportive, he made every kid feel exceptional, but also demanded they actually be exceptional.
These were the men who were responsible for molding me into what I was to become. Except for Fred, they're all dead now, and sorely missed.
Quiet bravery like that speaks volumes. I'm sorry I never met them, they seem like extraordinary men, the lot of them.
Every gay man and woman who in their own little way, made a difference by being true to themselves.