During the time in which Beowulf was written (and the exact date, as well as the author are not known), honor was the most important part of the life of a ruler and his warriors. When this story was told in the oral tradition, the scop (storyteller) would grandly emphasize the bravery of a warrior, which was a part of his code of honor.
At one point in the story, Beowulf refuses to do anything that would displease his feudal lord. Beowulf is a man of honor and loyalty, with no regard for how his actions will serve him, but for the glory they will bring to the king (or feudal lord) he serves.
Hrothgar is also an honorable man. He honors Beowulf's family and the warrior's willingness to travel so far to help defeat Grendel, when he and his men have been unable to do so. When Hrothgar's favorite warrior, Aeschere, is carried off by Grendel's dam (mother), Hrothgar is devastated. The honor shown here is much like the Marine's code of leaving no man behind. Hrothgar will not give up on Aeschere, and Beowulf promises to pursue the creature that has taken him.
In comparison to our leaders today, it often seems that too many are only interested in obtaining fame and fortune. There is no sense of honor among many of our leaders who have become jaded by their years in politics, or who never meant to serve the people in the first place, but only their own interests. On occasion we will see someone with the same code of honor displayed by Beowulf and Hrothgar, but it is infrequent.
Perhaps the tone and mood of honor and loyalty are the elements that make this story so impressive and timeless. Our "superheroes" exemplify the same traits as Beowulf (and Wiglaf), as well as the leader of the Geats, Hrothgar. We wish for these kinds of heroes, as seen in fiction and movies made about great warriors, but we have difficulty finding such things outside of the realm of imagination. What we cannot find in the real world, we sometimes can only see in the world of imagination with some notable exceptions in the "real world."
If I were to identify heroes like Beowulf, they would not be found in political realms; however, men and women of valor and honor were present for the world to witness on 9-11. They were the stuff another world, and perhaps it was this sense that make them "larger than life" heroes, much like Beowulf.