What is Heroism

September 13, 2008
When the word hero comes into my mind, I immediately thought of someone that had faced and overcome many struggles in life. After much thinking, I thought that my Granddad Fred would be a great choice. Throughout his life, he regretted many things, but it never stopped him from always trying something new. Just like one of the characters in The Odyssey, he was given challenges to overcome. Also like them, he never backed down, but he kept on fighting on no matter what. This is also a theme in the book. A few reasons why I chose my Granddad is for his stroke, his World War II involvement, and letting his oldest child take her family to the USA.

My Granddad’s life was full of unique experiences, and I do not think that anyone will be able to mimic it. My Granddad was born in Liverpool, England on September the 30th, 1932. His name was Frederick T, and he was named after his father and grandfather who shared the same name. He was the son of a docker (person who works on the docks, loading and unloading ships). He was the middle child and the only son in a family with three children. However, when he was seven, World War II broke out. The area in which he lived was considered unsafe. This was because there were many bombings due to the fact that the docks were nearby and the docks were a major supply route for food and equipment coming from across the Atlantic. Once he was forced to hide under the stairs in his house when a stray bomb landed nearby and all of the windows in his house were blown out by the force of the explosion. In order to keep younger children safe, my granddad and his sisters were forced to evacuate from the city. They were taken by their parents to the main city railway station, where they were put on a train with their classmates and teachers and taken to a farming village in Staffordshire. My granddad’s sisters were taken in by the local doctor, while my granddad was taken to live on one of the many farms in the area. He saw his sisters each day at school, but only once a year was he allowed to see his mother when she came to visit him. However, one fortunate thing was that, since he lived on a farm, there was plenty of food even during a time of strict rationing. He went as a blonde haired boy, and returned as a dark-haired youth.

When he got older, he started to live his own life and did not need his mother or father anymore. When he was starting to mature, he began the great the great task of looking for a wife. In August of 1961, he got married to my nana. His elder sister, Dorothy did not attend the wadding as she had booked a holiday and would not change the date. Through hard work and saving, my grandparents were the first people in their families to own a house, as opposed to renting one from the local council, and this did not please my grandfather’s father.

Two years later, my mother was born on November the 18th, 1963, but this happiness was soon overshadowed by the death of his mother, three months later. Two more children followed in 1965 and 1966. Not long after the birth of the youngest child, a silly dispute between my grandfather and his father resulted in them never talking again. My granddad never had the advice and support that parents give their children, even when they are grown up. My Nana’s family was completely the opposite, always willing to give their advice, help, and support.

As time went on, my Granddad supported his children as they grew up and went to college. He tried to give them the family life that he was never able to have. When I was born, my Granddad was to one to push me in a stroller and care for me when both of my parents were working. He would never do any of this for his children, as it was not seen as a manly thing to do. A few years after my brother was born, Granddad had his first major stroke. He was in hospital for 3 months, and my mom frequently took my brother and me to visit him. It took lots of physical therapy and determination for my granddad to regain some of the feelings and movement he had lost. However, 12 months later, he was able to go on vacation with us to the Canary Islands.

Four months later, with my Granddad’s blessing, my family moved to America. Although both of my grandparents have been to see us several times, his health has slowly deteriorated. Now, he is no longer healthy enough to fly and come and visit me. However, this doesn’t stop him taking an interest in us. He is always excited when we go back to visit him at Christmas time, and eager to hear about our successes, failures, and new experiences. This is why I think that my Granddad deserves the title of hero, as he has learned the value of being a member of a family.

One reason that I think that my granddad is a hero is his stroke. After the stroke, he remained strong, even when his body was recovering from its weakest point. He never stopped believing that he could regain movement, and after a few months of therapy and love, he was able to walk. He could walk around, but he never regained the full movement that he lost. Another reason that I believe that he is a hero is World War II. He was taken from his parents and hardly ever got to see them. He showed hero characteristics, and stayed strong throughout the entire war. The third reason that I think that he is a hero is letting his daughter leave to go to America. He was willing to give it a shot and if it would help us along, he would not stop it. When we left, of course he cried, we all did, but that does not make him weak, it showed that he loved everyone that was leaving. The final reason that I think that he is a hero is overcoming the many deaths that he has faced. His mother was his first experience of death, and even though it brought him down, it never stopped him from carrying on doing what needed to be done. This is one thing that kept him moving and helped him to get up if he fell. The hardships he endured never once stopped him, and neither will it ever.

After I first thought that my Granddad would be the perfect person for this job, I started thinking, and I realized Odysseus and him had a lot in common. One thing that I thought is that they both are cunning, and used their wits to get them places that they could not go before. Another thing that I saw is that they both have had hardships in their life. They both have had hardships and they have both had to work hard to either forget them, or move on. The final reason that I think that the tow of them are alike is the fact that they both have had help in their lives, courtesy of other people. The people see things in them that are not normal, and they reward this. However, they are both different also. They have different lives entirely. They were born in different places, with different climate, and different families. However, throughout all of this, they were similar and both worked their hardest for the best possible life for them, their kids, and their grandkids.

My Granddad has done some amazing things, and people have noticed what some things that he has done. My Nana said, “He has tried and succeeded in holding his family together, even though he has no role model.” My mom said, “Even with his disabilities, he has tried to overcome everything he can.” He tried to be modest with his great achievements, and all that he would say is, “I tried to do everything that I could to keep from making the same mistake that put my family in chaos many, many times.”

Without my Granddad Fred, the world would be a different place for me and many of my family. He is like the core of our group, the one that is holding us all together in the world. Without him, I would not be who I am, because he taught me to always learn. One of his favorite quotes is, “What you know will fill a postage stamp, what you do not know will fill a library.” This is something that many people have lived by. To wrap this up, I have one question, is this something you will try to do?

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