posted on May 29, 2007 10:23
You think about heroes when you sit in the hot sun at a Memorial Day ceremony.
The ceremony Monday was in Murfreesboro, a tiny town in Hertford County in northeastern North Carolina. I went with my mother and my two children, because my dad’s name is on a veterans’ memorial the town’s residents built this year.
They raised the money, designed the monument and chased down the names of as many Murfreesboro residents they could find who served during all the wars since the Civil War.
The ringleader is a little guy named Joe Dickerson. He became one of my dad’s best friends after the war. Joe was at D-Day, a radioman. When he stepped off the boat, he sank straight to the bottom. Two taller guys beside him lifted him up and saved his life.
Joe earned a Silver Star. And five Purple Hearts. One for a bayonet wound he suffered in hand-to-hand combat.
You don’t think hero when you meet Joe. He’s over 80 now, spry and with a twinkling smile.
You don’t think hero when you see the World War II vets stand up to be honored at the ceremony. A lot of them are bent over now. It takes them a few seconds to stand up – and then be seated again.
You think about the young men – boys, even – that they were when they went to war. About the age of my son sitting beside me.
You think about what some of them lived – and fought – through. And some who didn’t come back. The ones on the monument with stars beside their names.
You think about all the Memorial Day services going on all over the country. All the aged, bent vets standing to be honored.
You think about how lucky this country is to have boys like that. Heroes.
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