"I saved the world from the Nazi scourge, and I only get to be a Captain?"

“I saved the world from the Nazi scourge, and I only get to be a Captain?”

Some of the greatest heroes the world has ever known have had military ranks. Some of them have actually served in the military, notably Captain America, even though he seems to have been handed the rank of Captain straight away, rather than enlisting as Private America and being promoted, whether through merit or on the battlefield. Others, like the often-overlooked Sgt. Rock and the more-heralded Nick Fury, never got a commission, in spite of fighting their way across Nazi-occupied Europe.

Who appointed Captains Britain and Canuck to their ranks? They always seemed to be lone wolves. Maybe they got drummed out of their respective services for insubordination. Captain Marvel served in the Kree Army before saving the universe on more than one occasion, while the other Captain Marvel got all his powers from a magician and would almost certainly go by the name Shazam if saying the word wouldn’t turn him back into Billy Batson, who’s much too young to enlist.

But the real question is, with all of their heroics and freedom-fighting and leadership, why haven’t any of these heroes been promoted to higher ranks? Why no Major Mexico, Lieutenant Colonel Liechtenstein, Brigadier General Bolivia, or General Germany, for example? Dictators like Qaddafi and Noriega, who by all rights should have been defeated and disgraced by justice-seeking heroes, instead outranked all of them (to be fair Noriega appointed himself General, but if Captain America had ever become President, it’s almost certain he would have humbly remained a simple Captain).

Maybe part of being heroic and risking your life to save your country, the universe, or even just a cat caught in a tree is being modest enough to accept your rank in life, even when you’re more of a man than the rest of the Army put together.

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