Reach For the Stars

March 16, 2010
There once was a boy. Despite what everyone else said about him, he knew that he could be useful. Still, everyday when he walked through town, strangers would shake their heads sadly when they saw him. He could only turn away and blink back his tears. Rushing back home, he'd spread out on his bed. When the stars came out, he would stretch out his hands and remember his mother's words, "Reach for the Stars."
Johnny had polio when he was a baby. Ever since then, he walked with a limp. When all his friends climbed up trees and fought invisible enemies, Johnny stayed on the ground. When Ted organized a race on Miller's road, Johnny was always the first to fall behind. While all his friends walked by with their girlfriends, Johnny was alone. No one would ever accept him as a man like the rest. He watched Danny, Robby, Ted, Bill and all his other friends join the army. Johnny sat at home and watched them walk by proudly in their new crisp uniforms. As the ladies in his mother's sewing circle darned their socks and gossiped, they always averted their eyes when he limped past.
Everyone took him as Johnny Retford, always there but never useful. His family all told him they loved him no matter what. But Johnny knew that he had to do something more. He couldn't serve his country like everyone else. But he never gave up from reaching his star.
As the town's boys slowly went off to fight in Europe, Johnny attended the local college. He studied hard and lived for his dream of serving his country. As the boys visited home, rushing to their mothers' and sweethearts' arms, Johnny completed his education. When Danny and Robby did not return, Johnny was the one to salute their flag draped coffin. Johnny then decided there was something he had to do.
Johnny met up with an old friend who was a newspaper columnist. His friend eagerly accepted his idea. As Johnny Retford packed his bags and kissed his mother goodbye, he smiled. He followed the American troops and wrote about their accomplishments and defeats. He sketched pictures of scenes on the battlefield. He sent them back to the US and kept his country informed. His work became a valuable part of history. When Johnny saw his old friend Ted fall on the battlefield, he was the first to get next to him. Ted's expression was one Johnny remembered for the rest of his life. Johnny then knew that he was useful.
There was a man. Despite his struggles throughout his life, everyone knew that he was useful. Everyday when he walked through town, strangers would pump his hand up and down. He could only smile and say, "I did it for my country." Rushing back home, he'd embrace his wife and three children. When the stars came out, he would stretch out his hands and remember his mother's words, "Reach for the Stars."

Join the Discussion

This article has 8 comments. Post your own now!

SecretNonConformist said...
Sept. 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm
This was a beautiful story! I loved the first sentence and how you tied in the title at multiple moments. You are a great writer and captured the time in history. Keep up the good work!
melodeess said...
May 11, 2010 at 3:04 pm
Hey! If you decide to rate my article, thanks a lot! I would also love it if you posted a comment telling me why you gave the article the rating you chose. Thanks a lot :) -Melody
melodeess said...
May 3, 2010 at 4:53 pm
thank you :)
emilyjoe This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 3, 2010 at 4:09 pm
this is SO good. you are a phenomanal writer. i loved this. at first i was like "oh, where's this going?" but i really got your message at the end. reach for the stars (:
TeamJacobArchuleta said...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Wow this is really good! The message you sent is so empowering, and I love the last line. It was really perfect closure for the story. Great job! :) <333
melodeess replied...
Apr. 12, 2010 at 5:56 pm
thanks for your feedback :)
yeaaiitsemilyx3 said...
Mar. 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm
This is so inspirational! It makes me want to succed in whatever I do. Thanks for writing this. It's great. You sure have a talent about writing in emotions.
hannah Leverenz said...
Mar. 25, 2010 at 9:48 pm
this is awesomeeee <333
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback