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Corporal Dean R. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Everyone has a hero, whether it’s Superman or a celebritythey’ve never met. My hero happens to be someone I know well and love very much: my olderbrother. He is a person I can confide in and tell my dreams to. He is the one person who can seethe frown behind my smile, and he’ll try his best to cheer me up, whether by telling a jokeor giving me a warm hug filled with comfort. It would take me hours to describe what a wonderfulperson he truly is.

My brother is a proud man who would do anything for his family andcountry. He’s so proud and willing, in fact, that he enlisted in the Army. Joining the Armywas a dream come true for him, something he had wanted since he was a child.

The day hetold us he was to leave for Baghdad, we were shocked. Even though we expected this, it stilldidn’t hit us until the words were spoken. We didn’t know whether to be proud orterrified. I spent the next week blaming the terrorists and the president, but I came to realizethat blaming others wouldn’t change the fact that he was leaving. I had to deal with it andput a smile on my face for him.

The day of his departure came sooner than I had hoped; itwas too hard to say good-bye so I said “See ya.” All I could think about was readingabout this kind of thing in a history book or hearing it in lectures at school. I never thought itwould actually happen to my family. It makes you open your eyes and acknowledge the things you haveand the people you love.

We were able to write him letters and send him care packages,and he wrote as much as possible. My family tried to send him things that made him feel as thoughhe were home.

My birthday was the same month he came home so, needless to say, I got thebest birthday present ever. My brother came home in 2004 after being in Baghdad for 362 days. Theday he came home all I could do was hold him and cry with happiness. Not seeing him for a year waslike not seeing him for ten years; it was the longest year of my life.

I remember notwanting to watch the news because it was all about the fighting, because it was

reality. Ihave to say, even though I was terrified, I was also very proud of my brother. In that year webecame big fans of the color yellow - we had yellow on our cars, trees, house and purses. We stillhave yellow ribbons on our trees to show our support for the men and women who continue to fightoverseas.

Now you know why my brother is my hero: he did something that I don’t thinkI could ever do. I can’t think of anything more brave than fighting for your country andknowing exactly why you’re there. If you were to ask him, he would say he isn’tanyone’s hero and that he was just doing his job. I am a very proud sister and therearen’t enough words to express how thankful I am to those who fight for our country. Becauseof them we are who we are and are given the opportunity to be anything we want. My brother may notbe a superhero but he’s a hero to those who know and love him and will continue to hold thattitle in my book.

In memory of my brother, Dean
July 28, 1981- April 3, 2005


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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