Anywhere you go in the world, the crest of the House of El, the “Superman ‘S’” as it is often referred to, can be recognized by just about anyone.
Even the people who know nothing about Clark Kent can identify the meaning of a red cape in the sky: hope. It runs deeper than the hope that everything will be okay in a moment of peril, or the relief of knowing your loved ones would be saved from any situation. Superman represents a deeper hope: One that holds the love for humanity and the faith that it will only continue to grow and be better.
Since Kal-El landed on Earth in ‘Action Comics: no. 1’ in 1938, his hope for humanity has been something that has consistently inspired others, such as myself. To fit yourself into a place that may not accept you, and to fight for the people of that place takes a far better understanding of humanity than most humans seem to show. The foundation on which he was raised, one of hard work, honesty, and a solid moral compass is something that allowed him to propel into a unique position. Superman is a being of godlike proportions when it comes to abilities- but never has he shown an overall will to hurt the people of Earth. Is Superman just seen as a protector, though? For some people, the meaning of the ’S’ on Superman’s chest, means much more than defender and protector.
For some, that symbol shows acceptance of someone from far away. The symbol holds the hope that no matter how far away from home you find yourself, there will always be a way to do good for the place you’re at now. Homesick does not have to mean lonely, as Clark found in the Kents, Lois Lane and his friends throughout the years; the hope that there is no place you cannot belong to. This is a reality that has been continually strived for by the people of this world even today. More acceptance, more trust in one another, more hope: not only the general kind but a deeper and greater hope in the good of each other.
For others, the symbol of hope transforms into a symbol of perseverance. When Superman stands tall, it’s a sign of strength. Not the physical kind, but one of mental strength and the ability to overcome any obstacle triumphantly. To some, the symbol means that no matter what you have to endure, no matter what obstacles are placed in front of you as long as you put in the effort and positivity, you can better yourself. Every time Clark stumbled either physically or morally, he used those instances to push himself into a better version of what he wanted to be: not only for himself but for the people around him.
So today, while you’re standing in the sunshine or if you hear a plane overhead that causes you to look up, think of him. Feel the hope that he inspires, that he has never stopped inspiring. Even if this world doesn’t have a Superman, there are plenty of super people that walk the streets, inspired by his hope and message. No matter how Superman changes on the big screen, in the comics or through his many iterations, nothing will change what he means to people. Superman inspires a deeper and brighter hope in all of us. As a symbol he shows the constant belief that good will win, and as a person he shows us the best of humanity. For that, I will forever be grateful to have existed at the same time as Superman.