Summary: A sermon message delivered at a memorial service for a military member in the Air Force.

-Who were some of your heroes growing up?

-Was it a family member like your mom or dad, uncle or aunt, grandma or grandpa

-Was it a sports figure? Someone who played football, basketball, baseball, maybe a NASCAR driver?

-Maybe you really looked up to a musician – a rapper, a country music star or a rocker

-Who was the person/people that you looked up to when you were growing up? {PAUSE}

-I was a big sports nut growing up. I loved watching football and basketball games and track meets

-I was a hurdler so I marveled at the ability of Edwin Moses

-He won gold medals in the 400 m hurdles in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and the 1984 LA Olympics. Between 1977 and 1987, he won 122 consecutive races and set world records 4 times. No one else has been so dominant in a sport for such a long period of time.

-However, what people don’t know about Edwin Moses is that he went to college not on an athletic scholarship but an academic one. He majored in physics and industrial engineering and worked for General Dynamics full-time for three years while he trained for international competition.

-His impact on amateur sports has lived on even past his days of competition. He set up a program to allow amateur athletes to receive government or commercial stipends without impacting their amateur status and helped to institute drug testing for all world class amateur athletes.

-Edwin Moses was a true hero. Someone to truly look up. {PAUSE}

-Heroes generally have a number of characteristics that make them truly remarkable and people that others want to look up to.

-Generally, we see people that are strong, smart, brave, or wise as heroes. In the military, we especially honor people who have been self-sacrificing or have made a lasting, positive impact on people

-Basically, people that demonstrate the Air Force core values of Integrity First, Service before Self and Excellence in all we do

-Edwin Moses was an example of a hero but so was ___________. Not only was he among elite company. He was part of only 1% of Americans who served in the military. Not only was he part of a very tight munitions squadron with a very important mission but was part of an even tighter ammo flight.

-But when you read his obituary printed in the bulletin, you clearly see a young man who was on the fast track. You see a guy who knew the munitions world inside and out.

-What you don’t see in the black and white was the impact that his had on the people around him.

-Last week when the news of his death was announced to the squadron, I had the opportunity to see the impact that he had on the people that he worked with. In talking to people about the kind of NCO that James was, it was clear that he knew his job, held himself and others to high standards and really cared about the people he worked with.

-He knew that work wasn’t the end all, be all of life.

-So God helped him find his wife. They built a great life together, bringing life to three great boys. Like all parents, he fought the battle of maintaining a good reputation at work, investing time into one’s wife and children, and having friends and hobbies.

-He was truly someone for young munitions troops to look up

-He had it all. A wonderful wife, three great boys and good relationships with the people with whom he worked {PAUSE}

-But we all reach a point in our lives when we realize that we need a hero much bigger than ourselves. When we’re very young, we see our parents as heroes. Later, as teens we might really look up to celebrities. Eventually, we get to a point that we find our parents to be fallible. We find fault with celebrities. In the end, we discover that everyone will disappoint us. We need to find someone who will never disappoint. {PAUSE}

-In Greek mythology, Hercules is one of the greatest heroes. One of the upsides to having kids is watching a lot of cool kids’ movies.

-In the Walt Disney movie, Hercules, the baby Hercules is a discovered by Hades the ruler of the underworld, to be the only one to be able to foil his plan to take over Mt. Olympus, the home of the gods.

-He sends two of his henchmen to kill Hercules. They steal baby Hercules, feed him some poison but one drop is left so it doesn’t kill him, he’s left as a mortal human but with god-like strength.

-He is found by human parents and raised as their own. As a young man, his strength is causing all sorts of problems in his hometown. After one particularly bad day, he runs off to the temple of Zeus where his real father, Zeus meets him. Zeus tells him that if he is to be a god again, he must prove himself to be a true hero.

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