Heroes are many different things. Most people would always look at Superman, Spiderman, Batman, the likes of those as heroes, people who can do extraordinary things. Sometimes they were right in that aspect.
In school, we always did a show and tell, each week we’d have a subject or topic we had to use in order to bring in something from home and talk about. I always struggled with this, mainly because I never had much exciting things around my home, or in fact in my life.
One time though, the subject was my most fascinating. It was about heroes. The day I was told this my body filled with warmth and energy, usually the topics given made my soul escape me for a brief moment as if I was trying to think of something in that instant.
Not when heroes was announced by my teacher.
When the day came most brought in the typical things, action figures, comics, a hero costume of an existing character or something they made, not me.
I remember the class and the gambol together they took, until the teacher waived a hand and the gambolling ended, leading to suspense and a silence that befell the room. They were never interested in what I brought in so there was no surprise this took place. The power the teacher had to silence the room was awe inspiring and magical itself as if a powerful sorceress stood before us.
With my bag on the table I opened it, slowly as the zip unclipped each of the teeth. Putting my hand inside, I slowly pulled out a small rectangle and thin piece of gloss paper.
That brief pause I took before opening my mouth and announcing what I had brought, what hero meant to myself. At that time I flipped the paper to the class and revealed a wearing photograph, black and white and fading but perfectly exposed in contrast.
I had the class in awe, now I had the power of the silence as they stared at the vintage photo. I explained what they saw before them.
The image was from 1943 and showed a group of men stood outside a bunker half demolished. Several men stood in serried clothed in green army uniform. Some held their helmets, others still had them on their heads. All the men were smiling, shoulder to shoulder, some with their arms around each other.
I told the class on the back it had scrawled in a scribble pen men ship ‘Brothers in arms.’ They all still looked puzzled as to why I brought in this photograph from ancient time ago for them.
My grandfather was in that photo, stood in the middle with his brothers around him. He was my hero, fighting in WWII and winning the war. Heroes don’t just wear flash costumes and have superpowers, some wear uniforms and are around us day by day, from police to hospitals to soldiers, all doing their part.
I still have the photo today, at my desk at home looking over it each morning just as my grandfather would be doing above me, looking down at me still my hero.
I never wanted to be a hero, I just wanted to be like my grandfather, my hero.