TIME Loves a Hero

In the essay that begins our 2004 European Heroes special report — TIME's annual gallery of extraordinary men and women who inspire, provoke and make us proud — historian Tristram Hunt points out that each age redefines heroism to suit its own needs. Which raises a question: If we're now living through an Age of Terror, has that painful reality altered our perception of what makes a hero?

The answer is no. Terrorism is a crucible for heroic virtues we have long admired. And, of course, terrorism is just one of many scourges besetting the planet: Time's heroes...

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