The Unthinking Hero (JKelly 7)

Without a second thought I can say with certainty that soldiers are heroes. Past, present and future soldiers have lain down their lives to protect the ideals and freedom of this country. While people may argue to the opposite position, referencing someone or other whom used their military power for  “evil”, we cannot condemn a group of men and women who have overall done so much to aid in the continued democracy of our country. In the united states army the motto is “This we’ll defend”. It is with this motto burned into their souls that young men left their homes and joined the fight in World War II on the beaches of Normandy on June 6th 1944. It was here, so far away from home that many men transcended the plane of soldier to become a hero.

A boy from a farm in Wisconsin, Howard Hardrath, enlisted in 1942 into the 313th infantry. The company was present on the beaches for D Day, but it wasn’t until Hardrath was in the hedgerows of France, a month after D Day, that he came across a man in need of saving. Hardrath heard the pained cries of an injured man from his ditch and crawled over to see three men in heap on the bottom of a ditch. While two of three were already gone and the third “looked like he was a goner” with a serve head wound, Hardrath still pulled the man out of the ditch and saved his life. After saving the man Hardrath didn’t get a name or anything else about the man but simply went back to the fight, hoping the wounded soldier would be okay.

55 years later, now old an man, Hardrath coincidentally overheard a man at the reunion of his company talking about how he received his purple heart. Turns out this man, another member of his company and native of Wisconsin, Jim O’Neil, was the very man Mr. Hardrath had saved all the years ago. O’Neil thanked his long unknown savior, as did his 23 relatives that would not have been born without him. Hardrath, now 94, says “I was just doing what had to be done, and I’m so happy I did. After all, the O’Neils have eight children, so I know I did the world a good turn” (Hendrick 2000).

I can honestly say that soldiers are heroes because of that statement from Mr. Hardrath. While he is not the boasting overly confident hero of ancient greece, he takes on a more “superman persona” of humility. Mr. Hardrath helped saved a man at the risk of his own life without even a thought. As spiderman’s uncle said “with great power, comes great responsibility”, and the great power that is our military should be honored by the responsibility taken by this soldier.

Article (Hardrath is also a friend of the family so some quotes come “straight from the horse’s mouth” so to speak) http://madmax.lmtonline.com/textarchives/052900/s2.htm (Hendrick 2000)

 

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