“Ever since the events of 9/11, there’s been an almost religious veneration of U.S. service members as ‘Our American Heroes’ (as a well-intentioned sign puts it at my local post office). But a snappy uniform — or even dented body armor — is not a magical shortcut to hero status.
A hero is someone who behaves selflessly, usually at considerable personal risk and sacrifice, to comfort or empower others and to make the world a better place.
Whether in civilian life or in the military, heroes are rare — indeed, all too rare. Heck, that’s the reason we celebrate them. They’re the very best of us, which means they can’t be all of us.
While it's all very nice to use the term, it's stupid to use the term willy-nilly.
Same effect as using the term "racist" too often. Pretty soon it doesn't mean anything in the mind of the audience except "....must be another Obama pal talking..."
There are a LOT of good soldiers, a term which is VERY respectful. It ain't easy to be a good soldier.
There are damn few heroes. And if you want an objective measure, count the issued Congressional Medals of Honor.