“Don’t make people into heroes, John. Heroes don’t exist and if they did, I wouldn’t be one of them.” 

It is a very rare thing for me to find anything I dislike in Sherlock (the BBC series which adapts Sherlock Holmes for the modern day) but that line really, really upsets me. Not because Sherlock is saying he isn’t a hero – he wouldn’t be Sherlock Holmes if he thought he was – but because he’s denying the existence of heroes and he’s saying it to a man who has served in the British Army.

I like to think that, if John and Sherlock were real people and not in the middle of a game of cat and mouse with Moriarty, Sherlock would have realised who he was talking to and had the grace to apologise.

Because you need to be something special to serve in the Forces.

Those on the front line do the job that is in front of them not for glory or recognition or riches – certainly not for the riches, given how poorly they are paid – but because it needs doing and because they can. They put themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis and yet they don’t fall apart, they just keep going, often in appalling conditions and perform their duties to the best of their abilities.

I’m certain I couldn’t do it. Heck I can’t even imagine what their lives are like well enough to write about it realistically and that’s despite having watched many documentaries about the forces and pored through accounts of soldier’s lives, both at home and on the front line.

Having said that, I may not be able to fully imagine it but I do now have a much better sense of how hard life can be for those who serve our country this way; what they go through day to day, what they have to give up to do it and – something that is often overlooked – how their loved ones manage while they are away.

So today, on Armed Forces Day, I offer my gratitude to all those who serve now, all those who have served and all those who gave their lives in service.

You are all heroes to me and I salute you.

2 thoughts on “Heroes

  1. All right, I admit it – I'm boggling at the fact that there are fannish people commenting and kudoing over at AO3 who are not also commenting here.

    Thank you for putting this out there. I think a lot of us feel this way – we cannot possibly imagine giving our lives over to service like this – and we are humbled when we really think about the people who do.


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