Thursday, May 6, 2010

The World Lost A Hero Today...

The world lost a hero today. He left the way most heroes do – quietly, quickly, and without much ado. He simply slipped off the scene.

At first glance, his hands didn’t look like a hero’s . They were scarred from labor on the engines of PT boat 327, engines so deafening he and the rest of the crew were only allowed below deck for 20 minutes at a time.

Then came the blast. On December 22, 1942, the engine roared loudly as shrapnel flew, narrowly missing the gas tank. The shrapnel, however, did not miss the hero. Soon the Purple Heart was placed right there – in those warring hands.

“I’m no hero,” he told me once. “I was just doing what all of us scared boys were doing – what we had to do.”

I knew differently. I could tell by his hands.

Those hands cradled me as a baby. Those hands brushed against mine in the Piggly Wiggly aisle when he gifted me with grape bubble gum. Those hands shaped wood into toys. Those hands scrawled long letters. Those hands squeezed my shoulder on my wedding day.

Those hands rested in mine a few weeks ago.

“They’re all worn out,” he told me, rubbing them against mine. “They’re no good anymore.”

It’s a fault he had, like all real heroes. He didn’t know how heroic he was, even in the midst of his heroic moments.

I was three states away on the day he died. He was surrounded by others who loved him, but I wish I could have been there too. I wish I could have kissed my hero’s bald head one more time. I wish I could have whispered to him how amazing he was.

He would have denied it. But I would have held his hand as he exited stage left, quietly, quickly, and without much ado…

To the place where all true heroes go.

6 comments:

Abbie said...

I don't know when I've read a sweeter or more touching tribute.

I'm so sorry, BJ. And I'm praying for you.

Jobie said...

Beautiful ...

TJ Wilson said...

Oh BJ - I'm sorry, friend, your tribute is just amazing.

BJ Hamrick said...

Thanks, Abbie. There were so many facets to him I really can't get it all down here. But he was a special guy.

Jobie, Thanks for commenting. He was a beautiful man.

TJ - If only I could get it all down... It was good to hear from you. I think about your cute family sometimes and wonder how school's going :)

Nurse Katie said...

I love you!

K.M. Weiland said...

My grandfather, a WWII vet, died last September. It wasn't until after he died that I realized I didn't know him nearly as well as I thought I did. It's hard not to lament wasted years and lost chances.

I know all about waiting--for the right guy, for high school to end, for my boobs to come in (two out of three ain't bad).


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