Elisha Kent Kane Historical Society

On "...examples of sustainable heroism,"

"When the critics of academic historians say that we fail to give youth examples of heroism, they are, alas, right. Yet the conventional Western heroes either affirm the wrong faith entirely, as in the faith in guns and violence. Or, they serve solely as individual examples of courage and determination attached to no particular principle. Because their values are of conquest and domination, or because they are attached to no particular values at all, traditional Western heroes do not come near qualifying as sustainable heroes.

Sustainability in a hero means, very concretely, providing inspiration that sustains the spirit and the soul. "...a commitment to the fair treatment of the vulnerable has moved people of decency to action, and the record of these actions is an important part of our heritage. It is part of our heritage that, quite literally, sustains our faith and spirits."

Patricia Nelson Limerick; Saratoga Springs, NY: September 1995