I met two heroes today. One is at the far side of life. The other is on the near side.
Hero #1 regaled me with stories about his selfless acts of heroism in the 4th Infantry Division in World War II. He gave nearly four years of his life to the Army. He was stationed in England during the German bombings of London. He landed at Normandy on D-Day.
Hero #1 spent thirty days living in a hole he dug himself in the middle of the German Hurtgen Forest. It was winter. For nearly all of the thirty days he was wet from his feet to his knees. At one point, his fiancè (now his wife) sent him a baked chicken in the mail (!), and he ate it with delight (It hadn’t spoiled!). He nearly lost his life at least three times. Once, a shell aimed at his jeep went right over his head and landed in a swamp, so it didn’t detonate. Another time, his assistant driver went out in his jeep on an assignment that was supposed to be his own, and was shot in the head. He saw people right next to him die in the midst of battle.
Hero #1 came home and got married. He got a 45 day leave to do so. Following his honeymoon he went back to camp and was supposed to ship out to invade Japan, but then the Japanese surrendered. He was sent home.
Hero #1 was just informed that he will be placed on an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in April. He, along with other heroes, will have an all expenses paid trip to Washington to see the World War II Memorial, amongst other things. He deserves it.
Hero #2 can’t yet speak for himself so his mother spoke for him. He has been in the hospital for the majority of his not-yet-three-month life. Hero #2 has a rare disease called Hyperinsulinism. It means that in his young life his pancreas is producing too much insulin. They are finding it difficult to keep his sugars at the right level. He may need a portion of his pancreas removed and/or be on medication the rest of his life.
But that’s not all. Hero #2 has had rapid breathing since the day he was born, the source of which the doctors can’t seem to figure out.
But that’s not all. Hero #2 has a little dimple at the base of his spine that’s an indication that something might be “tethering” to his spine. It could hurt the development of his legs. If that’s the case, he will need surgery for it.
But that’s not all. Tomorrow he is having a CT-Scan and an MRI to determine whether his skull is developing correctly. If it’s not, they may have to do surgery to break the bones in his skull and set them properly.
Hero #2’s mom and dad, grandma and grandpa are getting to know far more medical terminology than they ever wanted to know. They are getting to know the hospital staff far better than they ever wanted to. They are getting tired of leaving Hero #2 at the hospital every night so that they can go home and get some sleep.
Hero #2 was just informed that he will have to be put on an Honor Flight of his own. He has to go to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to have a test and possible surgery for his Hyperinsulinism. It’s an Honor Flight Hero #2’s parent’s would rather he not have to take.
Through it all, the only way you can say it is that he has been a “little trooper.” Between the tears, fears, and frustration, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, have been trusting and faithful through it all. They are my heroes, too.
Two heroes: One on the far side of life, the other on the near side. But both heroes to me. I am thankful for them both, and praying for them both. They have both taught me that life is a precious gift of the Creator.
It’s not often you meet two heroes in one day.
Who are your heroes, and what have they taught you?