A hero is one because s/he inspires others to strive to be a higher being, to attain a higher sense of purpose in life (and perhaps the next?). A hero is not reckless; rather, s/he is courageous. Taking risks without knowing and understanding the consequences is what separates the village idiot from a true hero. The hero is selfless, and yet loves life, but it is this love of life that commits him/her to sacrifice all for the sake of his/her principles, flag, family, and loved ones.
Because s/he knows that those things are the things that s/he lives for.
With that, let us honor our heroes. The ones who are doing the best that their bodies, abilities, and souls can in order to QUITE LITERALLY keep the world safe.
The workers, technicians, scientists, and other personnel working 24/7 to fix the broken nuclear reactors in Japan.
I look up to all of you, knowing certain death must come from this and yet choosing to do what is right, given the right skills and expertise that each of you have. Thank you for trying to save all of us. Thank you for trying to save the world.
For further reading: Yahoo! News report on Japanese workers committed to die if need be.