Be Careful Who your Hero's Are.....

When I was a young man , a teenager in fact, I was even then a kind of a history buff , I was always reading things about the things that , I'm sure , all boys do . One of my interests was of wars. Particularly the second world war . My father served in the army infantry as a groundpounder in the European theatre of the allied war against Germany . During the sixties in America there certainly was not the widespread coverage of wars or anything for that matter, obviously no Internet , no military channels and of course nor history channels!
My father was a quiet man , generally , keeping his experiences mostly to himself. The only time in fact that we would hear much about the war was when he was talking with other adults , especially if they were veterans , and in particular if there was any "drinking " going on. In which case , the stories would sometimes go late into the night . If we were quiet and in hiding , perhaps at the top of the stairs , or over the floor vents in the bedrooms upstairs , we might hear of things that would peak our interests.
As I aged into my teens and early twenties , my father would open up fairly regularly about his war time experience. Once , about the time that the movie "Patten " came out , of course this is the movie of Gen. George S. Patten of the the famed "Patten " Armored tanks that were named for him . And the "Hero" of pop culture at the time , I remember making some comment to my Father about Patten being a hero ! And of some of the exploits of his own war strategies and experiences .
My Father actually became a bit disgusted at my referencing the word 'hero' , in desribing Patten. I had actually asked him if he ever saw Patten , and he replied yes , he had not only met him but shook hands with him. Apparently , in some town in France or Germany some of the infantry was on watch while there was a parade of tanks and troops moving down a main street in a city. And as Pattens tanks rolled through he actually got out of his officers escort car and shook hands and chatted with some of the Infantry men. My Father among them! Wow ! I thought and probably exclaimed , You shook his hand .?
It was then that my Father began describing Patten .
" Patten was a freak ! , He was a huge guy , I will never forget , his head was so large that he could not wear a helmet liner in his battle helmet. But he went along shaking a few hands and chatting it up with the infantry boys ", my father said.
In talking with my father , he went on to describe how they served in much of the same battles as Patten's men and tanks .
" Of course , he used the hell out of us Infantry boys " , On he went , in telling of how Patten woudn't go anywhere without Infantry in front of him , often riding on the tanks in between battles , or even during them . I may have made some comment about how the tanks helped to win the war.
" In the 'Battle of the Bulge ' the winter of fourty five just before I was wounded , Pattens Tanks were held down in the Rhine forest , the Germans were giving us hell , tearing everything apart with those eighty -eights , the huge German howitzers that could out shoot and out distance anything the allies had. They we mounted on railroad flatcars and they had everything and everyone pinned down" ........" Well, what could we do , we had received orders to move ahead , but Patten said ," he wasn't going anywhere without the Infantry support troops with him.".........." Well , Patten told us to take the lead and then all hell broke lose, everything was going to hell fast " . And then the tears come to my Fathers eye's ....." We were taking rounds everywhere , the trees were exploding around us , the tanks were taking hits , troops , ours and theirs were falling dead and wounded everywhere". ........" It wasn't safe anywhere , I saw guys jumping into foxholes and falling in their tracks , but Pattens tanks ? Well, they drove right over the top of us , men screaming in pain from being hit and from watching the tanks coming from behind them ........only to run right over the top of them."!
" No, patten was no God damned hero to me !" and then he went on ," there is the image of a hero and then there is the reality of hero". In so many ways even today that holds true., behind the "images " there is another and at times more personal story and reality of many things in our history. We in America tend to hold everyone today in the new images of "hero" , but more than likely rock stars and pro athletes , rap stars and politicians , none of them , however are heros.

Comments 20 comments

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 5 years ago from SE MA

I have never understood why people need heroes anyway.

By the way, posting everything in italics makes it hard to read, which is too bad, because this is worth reading.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Pcunix Thanks for sharing , well, I have never been told that! Maybe you could hub it ! Have a nice day.


Denizee 5 years ago

Thank you for sharing this story about Patten, of course I'm familiar with some stories about him but haven't given him thought for years. This Hub was interesting to me being an "Army Brat" for years and having the opportunity to live in Germany while my father served his 2nd tour there in the early sixties. Insightful -


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Denizee , Thanks for coming by to read. Hero worship in general ; maybe a bad habit.


samiaali profile image

samiaali 5 years ago

Hi ahorseback, Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story. Isn't it amazing what we, the people back here at home, don't know about what really happens in war. I really enjoyed reading this hubpage. Thank you for writing it. It is a lesson to us all about heroes! :)


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

I've never been too big on heroes, although I do honor some. Often the heroes are unsung. I grew up near the end of the second world war, so I saw men in uniform everywhere. In a sense they were all heroes to me.


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

Interesting hub my friend - I think perhaps heros are more for those at home - those left waiting, wondering, praying for those they loved that were in such danger so far away. People like Patten and others gave them somewhere and someone to put their focus... perhaps their blame and their if only's. War today being so technologlical we often do not see or know who is doing what, and we still have the infantry on the ground taking the hard and dangerous road.

I have no children - but I have many friends I have met online and many of them are in the armed services. When they head to a war zone my heart follows them - I can only imagine how their families feel. I can certainly understand why your fathers eyes, scenes like this do not fade with time.

Thank you for this post - we need to be reminded the price that was paid by so many - on both sides, in hopes it will not have to happen again. And we NEED to give our support to those servng now, them and thier loved ones still here at home.

Hugs to you. You were the perfect person to compose this peice - your heart - the clarity of topic and ability to tell the story.

Well done!

Hugs to you

Laurie


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Sami , thanks so much,Yes it seems there are two realities sometimes , the one percieved and the one lived out.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Yes sir Dahoglund , you are correct , we shouldn't be too big on them. Fortunately the real ones are more often the people next door.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Laurie , thank you so much , I was always humbled by the truest heros only , and they are almost always the people you know, we just seldom hear the stories of incredible sacrifice they make. Thank you as always , I am humbled by your praise although I am just the teller of the story as once I was the ear for my father and brother and a few friends. Thats perhaps what we get for being good listeners , as I'm sure you are.


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

ahorseback, I can't say I have any military heros, however I believe if I had served in the military I could have easily followed a hero and quite likely have laid down my life for a leader who led for a great cause.

There are great leaders from our past who were admired by their followers. My heros have mostly been sports heros as I have been an athlete most of my life. I am a team player and believe strongly in leadership.

This is a great story and from what I have read of Patton he was a steely, determined feisty and some called pig headed stubborn leader. I would have liked to have met him.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Saddlerider , I think my father would have liked to have shot him ! He was such an Infantry guy! And you know the rivalries, Patten was a great military strategist , and intelectual leader and perhaps an ego maniac. But a leader none the less. Thank you .


daddysgirl 5 years ago

To be honest I have never called anyone my hero...although I could think of a few. We never know the other side of some stories, and unfortunately even now some seek to erase our true history! Yes we do learn some from the past, however the true heroes not only learn from the past but the key is action!!!!!! I'm sick of the ones that are so willing to take credit for another mans bravery or efforts in life. One thing to remember is there is a God that sees and knows all! God Bless our soldiers. As I love to quote, there is no greater gift than to lay down your life to save another, for this you will wear many crowns. Love and hugs


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

The word "hero" is thrown around all too often, but heroes do exist. But in my book, they're not sports figures or actors. They are good politicians that genuinely care about people, military leaders that fight and die alongside their men, the men that fight and die alongside their leaders, those that do not think too long when deciding how to save another at the risk of their own life or limb, or just generally people who watch out for signs of danger and warn others. Heroes exist, but they are often not who the media makes them out to be. I don't know much about Patton, but I want to believe your father's story is wrong. But running over your own soldiers is an atrocity. I wonder if anyone else has the same story to tell in our present day military, if so, they should step forward.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

The real and truest heroes of life are mostly silent , And their efferts are day to day , the ladies of the church , the EMTs , the nurse working 14 hour shifs , all because of the lack of efforts of others . The people who watch over children. All heros. Love you my giirl.oxoxoxoxoxoxo


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Alexander Mark, There are atrosities each day in wartime , When the impossible is asked of a soldier , quite often as victory is delivered to the masters of war, An attrosity is commited , willingly or unwillingly.This was just one of my fathers experiences , and I know now that he wanted his sons to know ,really know , of the costs of war. Each and every one of US should know what it is we ask of those who don't ask for medical or colloge deferments. Americans especially have grown a new sense of reality , the ability to paint reality into pretty colors , and ignore the sacrifices of true heros. Oh yes , my friend this is a true story ! In the next few years Hollywood will deliver to you the stories ,true or not ,of our wars in Iraq and Afganistan. As the profits roll into hollywood so to should the reality of truth in war to each of us!


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

I think one of the truest characteristics of a hero is that they do not even know they are heros. Ordinary people doing extrordinary acts - even if that act affects a single soul can be a hero.


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

You hit that nail right on the head Laurie , We used to hear about that big, silent ,"moral majority". Our real heros are quietly working away bringing millions of small miracles into being ,in eack moment! Bless you for your wisdom. Big Hugs .


arb profile image

arb 5 years ago from oregon

Having been around awhile, most of the hero's I entertained growing up have found the scrap pile. I found hero's in less conspicuous places as I matured, like home! Mark Twain once said, "When I was 14 I couldn't believe how ignorant my father was. When I was 21, I was amazed at what he learned in 7 years" Such a little word for one so big as my father. Nicely done!


ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 5 years ago Author

Arb, you got it! I think thats it exactly. Look no further than your family. Thank you for sharing.

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