hero - a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal
This definition certainly describes those non-fictional characters that are our first responders and military. But, it is also YOU who teaches a friend or sibling how to play a game or read a book. It is YOU who invites a neighbor to sit with you at dinner. It is YOU who even at its most contentious times offers your thoughts in a response to blogs and articles. It is you who does the every day things from the fantastic to mundane that make so much of a difference in the lives of others. Even if it doesn't seem obvious or immediately appreciated, it still matters.
We need heroes in our lives not because we are damsels in distress, but because evil and entropy do exist in this world. Bullying, prejudice, and even the greater and more obvious threats like Ariel Castros or Al-Quaeda. As they exist, so too must heroism!
It can't unless we make it happen. Bit by bit, day by day, person by person. So please, be sure to remember the events of 9/11 for what they were specifically. Beyond that confront the gloom and peril that may seem bigger than you to make a difference in someone's life more broadly. Even the mightiest of wizards relies on the smallest, humblest of people to aid them.
"Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Because I am afraid...and he gives me courage." - Gandalf responding to Galadriel