What Does a Hero Look Like?
by Les Montgomery
The other day I took my brother to the hospital for some tests and a possible foot amputation? I had to wheel him into the crowded hospital admission room in a wheel chair. I parked him at the admission desk as instructed and prepared myself for a long wait. As I looked around I noticed this old gentleman across the rather large room. He was bent over a lady in a wheel chair. It looked as though he was having trouble locking the wheels. Finally he stood upright or partially so, behind his wife. As he did I noticed the old tattered field jacket he had on, and the black hat with the words UNITED STATES ARMY RETIRED embroidered on it. I also noticed his stooped shoulders and tired looking eyes. As always when I see military or former military personnel, I make it a habit to try to chat with them. I was especially drawn to this gentleman. I felt as if he was special.
When I walked up to him and stuck out my hand to shake his I asked him, “is there anything I can help you with old soldier?” As he turned to take my hand his eyes glanced up to my hat, and the C.I.B. and MASTER WINGS that I always wear on my hat. When he did an amazing thing seem to happen, his eyes came alive, his stooped shoulders straightened and he reached up and adjusted his hat. I watched as his mind wandered back in time to years long past. When he spoke he said, I too have the C.I.B. and WINGS. I thought to myself, life may have been hard on this old warrior, but it has not beaten him (yet). Him and I stood and talked for a few minutes about other times and other places, long in our past. His wife spoke up and said, “Earl has four purple hearts.” Earl looked down at his wife of many years and said to her, mama we don’t need to talk about medals. That was a long time ago. When the old solider said that, I knew God had blessed me this day. I had been allowed to spend time with a true hero.
As I turned and walked away from him I heard his wife ask Earl, how did that man know you? I heard Earl say, we were in the same outfit mama, we are brothers.
When I walked out of the hospital I caught myself adjusting my hat, and sticking my chest out a little farther than usual. Thank you Earl, for calling me your brother and thank you for making me even more aware those heroes come in all ages, sizes, colors and from all walks of life.
I appreciate the heroes I served with. May I never forget them, and may I never pass up the opportunity to acknowledge the heroes I meet along the way.
Co/C 1/327 th
Above The Rest