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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: War and Peace (not about the book) (07/07/11)

TITLE: Hector's Heroes
By Tim Pickl


“Today we have a special treat.” Janet Humphreys, a television network talking head, smiled as she set up the scene. “On the anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 attacks on our country, we decided to take a look at the home front. Here with me in the studio is Maria Perez. Good Morning Maria.”

“Good Morning Janet. I just wanted to let you know, I watch your show every morning.”

“Thank you. It is said that Standing behind every good man is a great woman.

Maria giggled.

“You are the wife of a Marine who is deployed in the war in Afghanistan, also known as—”

“Operation Enduring Freedom. My husband reminds me all the time why he is over there.”

“To protect our freedom?”

“Yes…and to secure our peace, so that Hector can grow up and live in a peaceful country, not ravaged by terrorism and war.”

“Thank God for men and women who are willing to fight for us—and for those who directly support the troops at home, like yourself. Speaking of Hector—you brought him with you today?”

“Yes, I brought my little marine with me. He wanted to meet you. He watches your show with me every morning.”

“Awwwww…here he comes now. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is Hector Perez… He’s a cutie. How old is he?”

“Hector is now 5 years old. And--”

“Today is my birf-day.”

“Yes, today’s his birthday. September 11th.”

“Awwww…so, so cute. And, what an amazing day to have a birthday. September 11th—the day when so many horrific things happened—is now contrasted by hope for the future, as represented in this little boy.”

“We are so proud of him. He really misses his daddy.”

“I miss my daddy.”

“I miss him too, Hector.” Maria wrapped one arm around Hector and pulled him close.

“Maria, what’s it like living day-to-day while your husband is deployed?”

“It’s tough. I have trouble sleeping most nights after I put Hector to bed, and read him a Veggie Tales story.”

“Veggie Tales!”

“How do you finally fall asleep? Did you see a doctor for some medication, or?”

“No doctors. I usually cry myself to sleep, praying. I pray for my husband, his unit and all the men and women who are at war, and those who are crying themselves to sleep at home, like me. Praying helps me realize I’m not alone. I even pray for you, Janet.”

“That’s wonderful, Maria…thank you. Well, today, one of your prayers are answered. By the miracle of satellite, we have Victor Perez live from Afghanistan. Victor, can you hear me?”

Almost immediately, Maria started crying. “Gloria a Dios.”

“Daddy! Daddy!” Hector jumped up and down, pointing at a large flat screen monitor.

[Live feed – Forward Operating Base (FOB) Blessing, Afghanistan 9-SEP-11 19:22:32]

“Janet? Yes, I can hear you. It’s a little loud out here today—we may have to cut this short.”

“I have Maria and Hector here with me today, can you see them?”

“I see them now. Hi Maria.”

“Victor, Victor… it is so good to see and hear you. This is a miracle.”

“Yes, it is. You have no idea what it took for me to arrange this-- lots of praying and begging. Mostly, I just wanted to let you know I am okay, and to give Hector a happy birthday present.”

“Today is my birf-day, daddy!”

“Happy Birthday, little man.”

“I am not little man, I am little marine.”

Victor, Maria and Janet all laughed in unison.

“Are you coming home soon?”

“Not until December. They may cut our tour short—it’s just a rumor right now—but for now, we’re staying.”

“Victor, what’s it like being out there every day?”

“Janet, let me tell it to you this way: some days are just horrible. I lost a buddy just the other day to sniper fire. Other days, we help Afghan civilians. We gave a bunch of kids here a pizza party recently.”

“Victor, what was that sound?”

“Hostiles are attacking our base again. I gotta run. Thank you Janet for doing this.”

“Thank you Victor for taking the time today, and thank you for your service to our country.”

“I love you Maria.”

“I love you so much, Victor.”

“I love you little marine. Hector. Look at me.

“Yes, daddy?”

“You take care of your mom for me until I come home, okay?”

“I will, daddy. I love you.”

“I love you, too, be good.”

“I’m always good.”

[Live feed—end]

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This article has been read 610 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Shipman 07/14/11
Realistic dialogue, nice set up of the scene, heart-warming story all the way around. Good job! (and precious tribute to our troops, by the way - thank you!)
Linda Goergen07/15/11
Very vivid view of daddy at war because he wants his family to live in peace...showing the sacrifice on both sides...very touching, powerful and well written!
Danielle King 07/16/11
Very realistic dialogue, drew me right into the setting. I was steeling myself for a sad ending so I'm glad I didn't need the Kleenex.
Leola Ogle 07/20/11
Ah, this touched me more than any I've read so far. My grandson, Ethan, will return from Afghanistan in August, his wife Rachel, just returned from Afghanistan in April. Their two little ones stayed with family here in Arizona for the 3 months their deployments overlapped. God bless our troops and God bless you for touching my heart with this story.