In Honor of Memorial Day: A Hero Come Home

He was my hero, and I had no idea what heroes were. Read about him in my Memoir of Sorts, The Man Who Talks to Strangers.

HE WAS JUST a nice little man who lived down the street in my hometown, and I had no idea how much blood he had on his hands.

He smiled a lot. He waved a lot.

I knew his name. But I never met him.

His was just another face on the streets of Kilgore.

My mother pointed him out one morning as we were walking out of the Big Grocery store. “See that man?” she said.

I nodded.

“He’s a hero,” she said.

He smiled.

I waved.

He waved back.

He was the only hero I ever heard say, “Hello.”

James Logan, long after the war, long after I saw him for the first time in my hometown

His name was James M. Logan. He had marched away from Kilgore when Hitler marched across Europe and became one of the many who never expected to return.

He did.

It wasn’t easy.

James Logan had defied a dreaded German stronghold beyond the beaches of Salerno, crawling across an open field, knocking out one machine gun after another, picking off Nazi snipers, moving on ahead of his unit, a solitary figure in the smoke and gunfire, providing critical information on Panzer tank units.

Time and again, he ran out of ammunition and came back for more.

He refused to quit.

James M. Logan thought he could whip the whole damn German army.

He was from East Texas, you know.

One man stood in a clear and present danger.

One man remained standing when the German soldiers broke and ran.

He may have been standing, but his leg was shattered with shrapnel.

James Logan had fought his bravest battle. He had fought his last battle.

He was a wounded warrior who came home.

“Why is he a hero?” I asked my mother as he drove out of the parking lot.

“He won the Congressional Medal of Honor,” she said.

“What’s that?”

She smiled. “Someday you’ll know,” she said.

It’s someday, and I know.

I could never imagine what he had faced or how trying their circumstances had been for him.

Was he angry?

Was he afraid?

Did the thought of dying cross his mind?

Was he thinking of home?

Did he have nightmares?

I never knew, and he never told me.

But he waved at me once.

He was my hero, and I had no idea what heroes were.

Please click HERE to find The Man Who Talks to Strangers on Amazon.

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