Hero At Eight Years-Old

Arriving in Spencer late Tuesday night, a church sign lit up by a spot light caught my attention: Pray For The Brett Family. In the morning, by the light of day, there was no mistaking the yellow ribbons, the candles, the flags lined up and pressed deep into the earth, the pictures of a 'Hometown Hero' and the multiple business signs replacing their specials with words that honored PFC Brett Woods.

Being the girl that I am who keeps herself in books, writing and picture taking, I rarely ever catch the sound bytes on the news. Truth be told, the news causes dark clouds to settle around my shoulders, and I avoid it as much as I can. But now I was curious (the greatest thing about smart phones is having the ability to google just about anything, even if you are in Nowhere, USA).

One quick google search will tell you that PFC Brett Woods was killed on September 9th in Afghanistan where he served in the United States Army. But what it doesn't tell you is where he was ten years ago...

On September 11, 2001, I was nineteen years old and had been married to a Marine for one year and two months. Sleeping, I woke up to a ringing phone and the sound of my mom on the other end. "Have you seen the news?" Of course not. I didn't understand what she was telling me...something about planes and towers and people dying...and Roger. I switched on the TV and just froze, the phone pressed to my ear, my heart somehow both in my throat and plummeting to my toes at the same time. My mind tried to catch up, trying to recall where Roger was right now--where in the world he was. Roger was deployed on the USS Boxer off the coast of Hawaii...so close to home, but suddenly stopped. What in the world was going on? Everything changed...my mind was reeling...my heart was breaking...and fear like none I had ever felt turned my world upside down.

Brett Wood was eight years old on that day. I have no idea what he was doing, but I imagine he was in a Spencer elementary school. Yet, somehow, on that day he fell in love with his country and the idea of justice and courage.

It leaves me breathless to compare that day in September, between PFC Wood and my husband and I. How have we come to a war that generations fight together, replacing one weary solider for a new one? Ten years. So much can change and remain the same in ten years. At least in war.

In ten years...what will have changed? Who will be fighting? What mothers will be mourning? What little boys will have grown to soldiers? What ground will be won and where will it be lost? Will we still remember? Will our memories fade?

I have no answers. I don't even have a theory. But I have pride. I am thankful that God makes little boys like Brett...who desire freedom at all cost, even when they are only eight years-old. I am thankful that God gives young men brave hearts and courage to face an enemy that may never be defeated (at least in this lifetime). Thank the Lord that young boys grown up to be men like PFC Wood...and like those that have fallen before him. Because of that, ten years is nothing. Give us twenty years, forty years, sixty or a lifetime...but we will never give up, never tire and always fight for that which is right. There will always be budding heroes that know what is right in their heart and do whatever necessary to protect that--to fight for it--to preserve it.

So remember him, his family, and never forget. And never underestimate the heart of an eight year-old.


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