In this contemporary world, the word hero is often used about distinguished personalities who have strived in one way or another to make the world a better place to live in. However, who is a hero?
To answer this question, some may say that a hero is someone legendary or someone having great strength or ability. Nonetheless, it is important to note that heroes share some characteristics. Three of which are a demonstration of respect for human life, the ability to create change and courage, and demonstration of an original perspective on the world.
Many people in the world, through the demonstration of the above qualities, have been recognized to be heroes. Notable among the heroes of the world in the late twentieth century was Princess Diana of Wales who, because of her heroic deeds, was referred to as “the People’s Princess.” In her life, the Princess, through championing various charitable courses, demonstrated a deep respect for human life (Trussel, 2010). From the early 1980s, Princess Diana got increasingly involved in various community assistance programs.
Since she was the Princess of Wales, she was supposed to visit hospitals, schools, etc., and amid doing this, she developed a deep interest in certain diseases that were affecting humanity, including AIDS and leprosy. During the 1980s, people suffering from AIDS were being shunned for no real good reason. However, the Princess of Wales took a bold move to face the fact that the people suffering from the scourge were being treated unfairly.
In 1987, Diana became the first in the royal family to greet a person suffering from AIDS without wearing gloves. Diana’s respect for human life was also shown by her endeavors to ease the suffering of the homeless, drug addicts, as well as the elderly people. From 1989, she became the President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH), which is the largest center for research activities in the United Kingdom that deals with childhood related ailments.
Heroes can create change and courage in the minds of people. Towards the late 1980s, many people still held the wrong perception that HIV/AIDS could be transmitted through casual contact; however, through extensive public awareness programs, the Princess changed the public opinion of AIDS patients (Levchuck, 1999). For example, in 1987, she was photographed sitting on the bed of a man suffering from AIDS and holding his hand.
This act demonstrated to the world that HIV/AIDS patients should not be left to die of isolation. However, they should be shown love and kindness, just like any other human being.
Her heroic action transformed the world’s opinion. Also, it gave the AIDS patients courage that they are still loved despite their sufferings. Her personal touch to encourage the AIDS patients was demonstrated in June 1997, when she auctioned off seventy-nine of her evening dresses in New York City. This action made her get more than $5 million towards the support of AIDS patients.
Currently, the world is full of many mixed perspectives, but heroes are remembered for demonstrating an original perspective on the world. Princess Diana demonstrated this. This made her to go beyond what other individuals perceived to be impossible tasks to be accomplished (Polster, 2001). Through the anti-Land Mines initiative, she did not try to settle for agreement and conformity regarding the buried bombs that were a constant threat to the lives of people, especially the children.
In January 1997, photos of her taking a walk in a minefield in Angola were seen throughout the world, and although some people accused her of meddling in politics, she did not relent in the course she had decided to pursue. In August 199, just days before her fatal road accident in France, she went to Bosnia. Her mission to the country was through the support of the Landmine Survivors Network.
The Princess of Wales decided to put the spotlight on the dangers of landmines because of the harm they caused to innocent individuals, years after they have used in fighting wars. One of her charity organizations dealt with giving prosthetic limbs to those injured and since this need was very high, she endeavored to channel her efforts to the root cause of this problem, which was the danger posed by the buried bombs.
Diana’s efforts is believed to have influenced the United Nations to petition the countries that had the largest stockpiles of the dangerous buried bombs to sign into law the Ottawa Treaty, which led to the worldwide prohibition of the use of anti-personnel landmines. Even though this took place after her death, it is a demonstration of the original perspective she had about the world.
In conclusion, the efforts of heroes have made the world to be a better place. And one of them, Princess Diana of Wales, is a hero who is worth mentioning. Throughout her short life, she led various charity initiatives that demonstrated her respect for human life, the ability to create change and courage, and original perspective on the world. And since she knew that she was the most photographed woman in the world, she used this privilege to champion for the courses that she loved, which made her be truly the People’s Princess.
Levchuck, C. M. (1999). Learning about charity from the life of Princess Diana. New York : PowerKids Press.
Polster, M. (2001). Eve’s Daughters. Gouldsboro, ME.: Gestalt Journal Press.
Trussel, J. (2010). Angel Hero: Princess Diana. The My Hero Project, Inc. Web.