Move over, Harry

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Let’s not stop thanking our true heroes

By John Pawlak

Lord Voldemort was a threat to all that is good in the world.
As his forces expanded and his strength grew, there seemed little hope left for the magical kingdom he sought to claim.
But all stories have a hero and Harry Potter came to the rescue.
We all knew that Voldemort would eventually meet his end at Harry’s hand.  After all, Harry is a true hero!
For some others, it’s Batman. Or Iron Man. The Lone Ranger. Matt Dillon. Davy Crockett. The Shadow (and who else knows).
We go to work, put in our nine to five (if you’re lucky), pick up a frozen pizza on the way home, and sit back to watch heroes entertain us.
Of course, we know they’re not real, and that’s okay with us.  After all, who needs heroes?  
As long as that pizza has enough pepperoni on it, life is good.
Every now and then, it takes something like the Las Conchas Fire to bring reality to a head.
Life can be very dangerous and we exist in bubbles of comfort that insulate us from those dangers.
Like a tea pot boiling on the stove, we learn to ignore the whistles and alarms that fill our world.
With high quality sound resistant windows, you needn’t be bothered by the sirens passing by your house as you cheer on your favorite Survivor character.But magic wands just don’t cut it in the real world.
No one called for Harry Potter as the Las Conchas Fire approached. No one sought masked avengers or strange visitors from another planet.  
Fire is very real and it took very real heroes to fend it off.
The Los Alamos Fire Department.  The Los Alamos Police Department. The National Guard.  The emergency crews. The medical workers. The utility workers.
Countless support teams that fed the workers, sheltered them, assisted them, and helped make this team effort so successful.
Real heroes whom we now cheer, whom we thank from the bottom of our hearts, whom we openly cherish.   
Our entire community united in praise for the courage and valor displayed during this crisis.
But that tea pot is boiling on the back burner, and back burners have a way of finding themselves ignored over time.
How long will it take before we put all this behind us and find ourselves rooting for our favorite Iron Chef or cheering on some narcissistic housewife?
The White Rock rock was painted with a big “Thank You” for the LAPD, LAFD and other workers who saved our community.  
It was recently painted over for someone’s wedding or birthday or whatever, and that’s a good thing.
Life goes on and we need to celebrate the good times.  
When your parents celebrate their 50th anniversary, or little Michele turns five, why not shout it out to the world?
But let’s not paint over our memories. We have a Mother’s Day. A Father’s Day. A day to recognize bosses, administrative assistants, teachers.  We even have a day to celebrate planting trees.
How about Los Alamos designating a day for our local heroes?  
It could be a street fair with various service groups having booths for people to learn more about the work done by our heroes.
There could be activities for children that help them learn safety tips.
Community outreach programs could use the fair to educate the public on pertinent issues such as road safety, tobacco and drinking facts, etc.  
Emergency teams and medical practitioners could teach parents how to treat a bad cut, a bee sting, a sprained ankle.
Utility workers could remind us how to reduce water and power usage, or how to maintain our yards to reduce fire hazards.  
And local businesses could join in (since so many of them did their part too).
There are lots of things we could do that would be fun, educational, and would give us an opportunity once a year to remember all the men and women who deserve a huge thank you.
Los Alamos Heroes Day.  Sounds a bit silly? Well, it doesn’t to me.
I just can’t seem to stop saying, “Thank you! You really are heroes!”
 John Pawlak
 Los Alamos columnist