May 29th, 2012
10:37 AM ET
7 years ago

What makes a soldier a hero? MSNBC host's remarks spark outrage

(CNN) - What makes someone a hero?

It seems like it's a simple question, but MSNBC host Chris Hayes caused a firestorm when he said on Memorial Day weekend that he was uncomfortable calling people heroes just because they served in the military.


Filed under: MSNBC
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Al-NY,NY

    While anyone that serves is exceptionally brave, they are NOT all heroes. The term is being diluted from it's true meaning. Does the tightie rightie "patriot" say that Duh DUh DUh-bya running around with a gun in Alabama during Vietnam make him a hero? Cue the right wing faux outrage........

    May 29, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |

    I served in the military but I didn't fight in war. Does that make me a hero? I think not. Chris Hayes is absolutely correct.

    May 29, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. SuperD

    Typical Leftist crap. How on earth do people form opinions like this? The Left is collectively a bunch of sick, godless, radical fools. How could you possibly support people like this, including the President.

    May 29, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  4. Fair is Fair

    Chris Hayes. Figures. The little communist wunderkind thinks a hero is someone who holds a May Day rally in Red Square.

    May 29, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  5. obama victim

    well...this should be entertaining......the obamabots defending this the way, does anyone watch that show??

    May 29, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. Thomas

    One Day of the Iraq War = 720 Million Dollars, How Would You Spend it?

    Mitt Romney / G.W. Bush

    May 29, 2012 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  7. Against all Odds

    Did anyone watch the movie last evening , "lettersFromMy Fathers? In the last scenes, the marine telling the story raises this questions saying We are not Heros, etc.
    Perhaps mr Hayes has something here??

    May 29, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Chris Hayes...Chris Matthews; Sean Hannity...Bill O'Reilly; Erin Burnett...Wolf Blitzer; MSNBC; FOX News; CNN ... none of them have a monopoly on fairness or truth. Each promotes it's own agenda ... all day, every day, which is why 90% of Americans have tuned out completely. Using Hayes' comments to "add to the conversation" of who is or isn't a "hero" only highlights CNNs own problem in the ratings war.

    Going after one commentator to get viewers to come to you is right up the "whatever happened to integrity" conversation no one is having and should be having. I left FOX News years ago when O'Reilly started promoting his anti any media but FOX rhetoric. If you can't get your point across without the propoganda, chances are that point isn't too honest to begin with.

    May 29, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. once upon a horse

    I like Chris Hayes but I DON'T agree with this comment he made......perhaps he was trying to make a name for himself outside of MSNBC and I think he just did so. Any person in the military that dies to protect this country to me is a questions asked. But I have to admit that the comment Ann Coulter made trying to insult Hayes by calling him a WOMAN I found interesting. I mean isn't she a woman herself? So being a woman is an insult? Just saying........

    May 29, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. NameR. Gamba

    We serve to allow people like that to be able to express their view freely, right or wrong
    32 years Air Force

    May 29, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. george of the jungle

    this is a volunteer army anyone who serves is a hero. Obama 2012

    May 29, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  12. Sandy

    I love Chris Hayes' show, but he was wrong. People might want to notice that he did say something like "I might be wrong". He later admitted he was wrong and apologized. I don't see what's the problem. The man admitted he was wrong and apologized. Move on.

    May 29, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Fair is Fair

    once upon a horse

    I like Chris Hayes but I DON'T agree with this comment he made......perhaps he was trying to make a name for himself outside of MSNBC and I think he just did so. Any person in the military that dies to protect this country to me is a questions asked.
    Let me give you a scenario. Two Marines are on patrol... one of them gets killed by a sniper. Is only the ONE who got killed a hero, or are BOTH for putting themselves into danger? I may be biased, but to me, anyone who puts the uniform on is a hero, including poster GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE/ConservaFASCISTS who doesn't consider himself one.

    Chris Hayes is entitled to his opinion, but to say such a thing, on Memorial Day, about the very HEROES who give their all to protect his right to spew such garbage is beyond reproach.

    May 29, 2012 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  14. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    "Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word 'hero'? I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war," Hayes said Sunday on MSNBC. "I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect the memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that."
    That was for those of you to0 blinded by ideology to read, reason, and create original rational thoughts. The man was expressing his doubts over how the US military has become a pawn in national politics, and he felt that the cause can be traced to the overuse(?) of the word "hero."

    His simple point was that there are some people out there who use the word "hero" as a shield against other people questioning the views, actions, and words on other issues. For example, Sarah Palin.

    May 29, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    His point was not to glorify war by calling all the participants as heroes.

    "Hero" is too often used as a glaze to put a nice shine on war.

    May 29, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. DAK2742

    Speaking as a 27 year veteran, both peace-time and combat, I don't have a problem with what Hayes said and I understand his point. Just enlisting doesn't make you a hero, and the overuse of the word cheapens it until the word "Hero" has no meaning.

    May 29, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. CNN viewer

    Intentioned or not (really ???), appears that Chris Hayes is getting a lot publicity today, which provides a great platform to promote his new book that will be available in 2 weeks.
    ...ahhhh ... it all makes sense.

    May 29, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. ST

    Becoming a hero applies to any aspect. It should be something exceptional others being provided opportunities were not able to do. Going to fight and escaped to be hit does not deliver the really meaning of becoming a hero! It is totally being lucky!

    May 29, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. Tyler Wilson

    The idea of someone laying down their lives on the chopping block of death for our general well being is of course very heroic; however, I do not find war heroic. It is too often that we revere war as an honorable cause to spill ones blood in. We should be revering peace, where it is an honorable act to preserve life that would be lost in war. If we are to revere the warrior as a glorious symbol of ones nation or ideology, then we prove to ourselves that Zeitgeist has never changed and that we are no better than our predecessors.

    May 29, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Andre

    8-year veteran here, and while I appreciate the sentiment, I don't really care to be worshiped. I'd be lying if I could honestly say my reason to join the military was TRULY and PURELY a patriotic one. In fact it was far more economic than anything else, so I don't think that would qualify to be designated a hero. I believe I do deserve some credit for having served in Iraq, but beyond your respect, I don't need your adoration or to be put on a pedestal. I'm just another human being, and that's that. That said, it was a great feeling getting off that airplane in Dallas to a standing ovation; it made my deployment feel worthwhile because I could SERVE the nation that gave so much to me. Ok and yes, some of it was ego stroking 😛

    May 29, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Hayes makes a good point and all he was doing was question the rhetoric used regarding the word "hero". The fact is, Americans become quite irrational when words like "hero", "freedom", "troops" and "honor" are thrown around casually, especially by the chickenhawks on the right who manage to avoid military service. It's part of how the GOBP cult hypnotizes its base and then uses the words as a bludgeon against their political foes. It's all quite hypocritical really. Having said that, thanks to all our soldiers who served and especially those who died in the service. We may disagree on who is a "hero" but we all agree that serving with honor is worthy of respect. That should be enough, except for those who want to politicize the issue.

    May 29, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |