True Hero

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic
Bernard is eighty nine years old and wishes he could be in Normandy for the D-Day commemorations.
Based on a true story.

Submitted: July 02, 2014

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Submitted: July 02, 2014

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The nursing home worker handed Bernard a cup of tea. He thanked her as he took the cup and saucer.

‘You looking forward to Friday? It’s that war thing, isn’t it? We’ll set the television set up in the day room so you can watch it all.’

Bernard just nodded. That war thing? It was the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. He’d been on Sword Beach that day and he would never forget it. This Friday meant something. Something important. Since his wife had died five years ago things had lost their meaning. Even food did not taste the same without her there to dine with him. But the upcoming 70th anniversary, that mattered.

He sighed, washed away the lump in his throat with the sweet tea. He had mentioned to one of the nurses that he would have liked to have gone to Normandy for the commemorations. He’d been told that unfortunately it was out of the question. There was nobody available to accompany him and at eighty nine years old he was just too frail to go unattended. He’d nodded, told them he understood.

In the days running up to Friday 6th June 2014 the newspapers and television had been reporting about the significance of D-Day and the extensive commemorations in France to mark the anniversary. Bernard took it all in with a heavy heart. That day had been the most horrific day but he was immensely proud of himself and the men fighting alongside him. He’d lost some good friends that day.

On the Wednesday the care workers at the home hung bunting and wartime posters around the place. One young female nurse had patted him gently on the knee, said she understood how important this was to him. She told him that the home would make Friday really special. In a voice that he couldn’t help but find patronising she told him that on Friday there would be afternoon tea for all the residents. He thanked her for going to the trouble.

On the Thursday the newspapers issued replica papers from seventy years ago. Bernard went through the papers from cover to cover. As he was reading a young care worker asked if he was excited about tomorrow. He looked up.

‘Oh yes, I really cannot wait.’

An hour later, wearing his grey overcoat he told the nurse he was just going out for a walk. As he turned the corner out onto the main road he opened his overcoat. The medals on his jacket glinted in the sunlight. The coach was waiting for him. The sign on the front of the coach said Normandy -  D-Day Commemorations. He smiled as he climbed on board.


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