Real Heroes

My sister’s husband left for Iraq a little over a week ago. Pray for them.

“Send me a picture of Bill,” I said. She married a guy named Bill, too. Makes things easy for my Dad. “I want to keep it out so I see him all the time and remember to pray for him all the time.”

So she sent me a picture of him taken as he and his unit were leaving.

“Why is Uncle Bill carrying a gun?” asked one of my sons.

“Because he’s in the Army,” I said in my Duh-voice. It’s funny. My boys play Army all the time. They even argue about whether or not the General would be carrying a gun, and frequently discuss which war they’re fighting in for the tactical nuances in their games. But for them, and for most of us, we forget that it’s real people who carry real guns and go off to fight a real war.


Yesterday we went to the pool at the Officer’s Club. The kids couldn’t help but notice the man with one leg who went to the lap pool for a workout. “Did somebody cut off his leg, Mommy?” asked Peter. The older kids accepted my explanation that he lost it in the war, but Peter is too young for that. I just agreed that someone had cut it off because it was broken.

real peoplereal war


Bill flies to Atlanta today. Last night I asked him, “Are you flying in civvies?”

“No, I’ll go in uniform.” And then he explained how the Army thinks it’s good for regular folks to see them.

“Well, if you see somebody do this (I put my hand to my chin and then extended my arm – the ASL way to say “Thank you”), it’s not meant to be an obscene gesture.”

But my husband doesn’t need a thank you. He doesn’t feel he’s doing anything heroic. He’s just a guy doing his job. And even though he wears a uniform, he doesn’t carry a gun to work.

{As an aside, please feel free to participate in the Gratitude Campaign. Believe me, that soldier may just be doing his job, and may not have ever deployed, but it’s not just an ordinary job. It does deserve a thank you.}

Last month, Bill flew from Virginia to Ohio to meet me and help us drive the last leg of our trip to our new home. He was in normal, everyday, vacation clothes. There were two soldiers in uniform on his flight, one sitting near him. The stewardess offered the soldier an empty seat in First Class, but the man, of higher rank than my husband, declined. “Give it to somebody else.”

Like my husband, he probably gets embarrassed at thank yous. Like my husband, he probably recognizes that there are many others who have done more, sacrificed more, suffered more, lost more, deserve more.

Like the man with one leg.

Like those in harm’s way right now.

Like the family members left behind to wait and worry.

Real people. Real war.

Real heroes.

14 thoughts on “Real Heroes

  1. Thank you for posting this. Coming from a completely non-military family (the last ones to serve were my uncles, in Korea and Vietnam respectively, and I was born after Vietnam ended), I really need to see posts like this to remind me of the real people behind the headlines.Do you think your sister and brother-in-law would consent to have his picture up on your blog, so we can also be reminded to pray for him frequently?

  2. Your brother-in-law will remain in my “pocket rosary” until he is back safely with his family. May God bless him and his family!We are grateful for him and for all his fellow soldiers for what they do for those of us at home.And sometimes we do try to thank a soldier when we see him/her in uniform. Not to embarrass them, but just because of what they do and represent.

  3. Good post Michelle. Our country is so split on this war it’s hard to know what soldiers encounter in their daily life. I’ll remember to thank them in my encounters.That’s interesting that the Army wants Bill to travel in uniform. My brother (just out of the Corp) just told me that they were not supposed to travel in uniform lest they be a target for violence. Sad.

  4. Kasia,I know she doesn’t want one of him in uniform. Perhaps I can put on of him in civvies on. I’ll see.Maybe I’ll black out his face, rank, etc…hehe.

  5. You know, actually, Michelle, I have an idea. What about just a photo of any soldier in uniform with the face/rank/name fuzzed out? More of a general reminder to pray for our soldiers, not just a specific one?Maybe I’ll go poking around and see what I can find…if nothing else, I’m going to put something up by my computer so I remember to pray for them more often…

  6. Kasia, I have something perfect. I’ll post it on my sidebar when I have more time to figure out how to make it big enough to read. It’s the prayer we said at the military chapel I attended at Fort Leavenworth. Very nice.

  7. Thank you for this post. Sometimes I think we all need reminders to thank those we see in uniform and our veterans, and to remember to pray for them and their families.Thanks to your husband and also to your family. God bless you!

  8. <>The older kids accepted my explanation that he lost it in the war, but Peter is too young for that. I just agreed that someone had cut it off because it was broken.<>This just hit me: now, you KNOW that you need to make extra-special sure that no one he knows breaks their leg any time soon, because he is TOTALLY going to make the connection and think that it’s going to need to be amputated! :-p

  9. Lovely post, Michelle. I’ll keep your sister and brother-in-law in my prayers.Blessings

  10. As always, you are so eloquent!Beautifully written!!By the way, would you like to meet up at the pool anytime soon? I’d love to hang out!

  11. Okay- you made my eyes well up a bit.It’s only 8:11.Lovely thoughtful post.

  12. My brother is leaving for active duty as a nuclear technician on the USS Abraham Lincoln. He will be stationed in Everett soon and then deployed shortly after that. My children are fascinated with soldiers/marines/sailors, etc., and they are heroes in our home. When they see a military person in public (usually identified by fatigues) they almost always remember to say, “thank you for serving.” God bless all of our military men and women, God bless America!

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