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Heroes are everywhere

Dear Readers: Yesterday I shared some of the emails you sent when "Alison in Ashland, Ore." asked you to name your heroes. Today I am sharing more. If you have found them to be as uplifting and energizing as I have, at a time when most of the news we read today has been so depressing, read on:

Dear Abby: Elizabeth Smart is my hero. She went on a forced ride and nine-month stay in hell, came back and has triumphed over that horror with grace, dignity and amazing maturity.

-- Dr. Mark M. in Utah

Dear Abby: One of our family heroes is Ruby Bridges. Only 6 years old, a black child in the South, Ruby attended an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, enduring isolation, harassment and even death threats. Thanks to Ruby and all Americans who helped to break down racial barriers in education.

-- Melinda in Virginia

Dear Abby: My hero happens to be famous, but that's NOT why she's my hero. It's Tina Turner. She started young and became famous because she had an amazing talent. However, when her marriage dissolved, she was reduced to manual labor to support herself and her children. She struggled to get her career back and, after years, regained her place in the entertainment world. She's my hero because she fell, got back up (no one did it for her) and made her place once again. She's a great example of human perseverance and I really admire her.

-- Tamara G., Orlando, Fla.

Dear Abby: Regarding real heroes, I nominate the journalists and writers who, at risk to their own lives, report the truth on what's happening in war-torn countries or in countries ruled by dictators. These brave men and women work under threats of murder, torture and/or imprisonment.

-- Brenda in Atlanta

Dear Abby: A real hero is someone who donates an organ so that someone else may live. A real hero is someone who donates time to feed the hungry at a mission or sit with the elderly. There is a difference, to me, between a hero and someone who is brave.

-- Larry S., Flemingsburg, Ky.

Dear Readers: To read a longer version of this column, go to DearAbby.com.

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