[lit-ideas] Re: Follow Up to Fly in the Fly-Bottle

  • From: John Wager <jwager@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 18:19:29 -0600

One of the men in my platoon in Vietnam might be called a "hero." We were attacked one night by four Viet Cong sappers, who ran into our fire support base throwing grenades and blowing up artillery pieces. They blew up one of our 81 mm mortar positions, and started the small ammunition storage attached on fire. Shells were exploding from the heat of the fire, but they were in a sandbagged bunker and the debris was flying overhead, not really endangering anybody. Someone I'll call "Larry" ran and got a fire extinguisher, and stood atop the burning sandbag pit aiming the fire extinguisher down into the burning ammunition.

In my most polite sergeant voice, I asked him to please get down before he got himself killed. He did, and no one was injured that night.

Was he a hero?

Mike Geary wrote:
I know of one hero, a teacher who tried to stop an attack by a gang of high school boys on another boy. The teacher got cut up pretty bad, but he probably saved the kid's life. I can't even remember my hero's name. We taught at the same school 38 years ago. I doubt I would have had the courage to step into that situation. I have no idea what I would have done. He probably didn't either at the time.

Other than that guy I can't remember having personally come across any heroes. There are several people I admire -- social activists mostly (imagine that!) and some artsy-fartsy rebels, not much at stake there though.

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