TITLE: Late Entry-Unsung Hero Challenge
By Bella Louise
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Some people don’t have any heroes. Most people have only one. I’m the exception. Normally I hate to be an exception, but this time I’m proud. I have two heroes. One of them is a man I barely remember. The other is his wife, my Grandma. I know very little about Grandpa, and I don’t know too much more about Grandma. I do know enough, though, to know that they are heroes.
Grandpa fought for our country and our freedom during the Second World War. He was born in 1918, just after a hideous conflict shattered most of our world. I wonder. Did his mother thank God that her baby boy was born late, and would never have to see such terror? I don’t know. What I do know is that he did see such terror, and worse. I’ve no idea what his job was in the army, or whether he was decorated for it. I do know that my own father, Grandpa’s son, mentioned once that he always disliked fireworks, because of the memories that they evoked. Memories of explosions, I gathered. I do know that my Grandpa waited for love, and put duty first. He didn’t marry Grandma until he came back.
Unlike most people that I, with all the blunt-headedness of sixteen, would call old, I can see Grandma as a young, beautiful bride. When she talks to me of Grandpa now, I can see that she is still very much in love with him, though he died nearly thirteen years ago. Although simply waiting for love is heroism, although letting Grandpa go off to war and fight is heroism, my Grandma is far more heroic than that. You see, she was a nurse. I don’t know when she qualified. I do know that she nursed injured soldiers during the Second World War, and saw things that, at the time, no young girl should have seen. I love to make-believe that Grandpa was injured and she nursed him back to health, though I know that is not true. I don’t know when exactly she reached retirement age. I do know that, well into her seventies, my good grandmother continued to volunteer as a nurse. I wonder how many lives she has saved? She worked for the NHS all those years, when, with her training, she could have worked for substantially more pay and a better pension. I don’t know what pension the government gives her. I do know that she is the same age as the Queen (almost to the day) and that she lives in a lot less comfort. I do know that, despite her relative lack, she still insists on giving my brother and I money every time we go to see her, and at Christmas and our birthdays, or sometimes, for no reason except sheer love.
But do you know? These things are not what make my Grandpa and Grandma heroes. What makes them heroes is that, when Dad and Elise and Jamie reached their teens, and fell apart, their parents did not. Whatever life threw at Grandpa and Grandma, they stayed full of hope. They kept their enthusiasm for life. Even now, I can sense Grandma’s great joy in life when I speak to her. Goodness knows she’s had enough to make her sad, but she chose to keep hope. They kept their hope alive, and in time it was rewarded. Grandpa and Grandma, to cut a very long story short, are my heroes. They are my heroes because they taught me to hope.
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