My Work in Progress

A sketchblog where I post a few of my scribbles from a variety of works-in-progress, usually from my rather random personal creativity outside of the daily grind. I occasionally, but not always, post the final artwork.


Unsung Heroes

Last week's Illustration Friday topic was "Heroes". I came up with a couple of ideas which I didn't get around to posting before Friday.... It was my first time to doodle something for this group, and for some reason I thought that you were supposed to post it on Friday as opposed to getting a new topic that day. Oh, well. Next time maybe I can do an official picture in time.

Anyways, here's the two ideas I had. The first was a sketch based on a personal experience of mine when I was a kid. The second idea I got after watching a tv news report this past week about a garbage man coming to the rescue of a woman held hostage and tortured by three robbers in her own house. An unexpected hero.

I guess a lot of people think of firemen, or policemen or others that maybe serve in the military when they think of the real heroes that aren't the comic book superheroes. I like to consider the unexpected or unsung heroes that surround us everyday. Whether because their efforts provide an example for us to follow, or because in some way they inspire us to be more than who we are because of something they've done. Mentors, teachers, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers. An older brother or sister. An historical figure.

Heroes of the Past
While I'm not an active supporter of the U.S. military (I have my reasons) even though my father and uncle enlisted (Air Force and Army), and I was offered a full scholarship to attend West Point (huh, whatever), and I currently have two almost-nephews that are in the military (one in the Marines, the other Navy)...I do like to take a moment to reflect on both the military and civilian effort it took to create the United States, to finally become an independent nation. Something I actually don't do much at all on Veteran's Day. Shame on me, I suppose. So this 4th of July weekend, I think about the historical facts that I've been taught in various public schools, as well as the books that I've read (both fiction and non-fiction)...

How many were the little moments that we will never know where people were for even a brief time a hero in someone's eyes during the fight for Independence?

While I don't know any 230+ year old that lived during that time (or at least not that I'd admit ha), I do know people that survived other, more recent battles and have listened closely to their's the civilian perspective that I can relate to, not the military. Not a fight for independence, but the need and the will to survive something you have little or no control over.

There are stories my mother told me about events that occurred in her village when she was growing up in Germany during the end of WWII. For example, the Allied soldiers that were hidden in the old village barns to escape the Nazi army. The Black Market network that helped provide food for so many hungry families in the village, during both the Nazi and the Allied army occupations. The foolish, but brave things my aunts did to help the family (my mom has 8 older sisters) . My grandfather's racing pigeons that were a bit more than that. My grandmother's occasional trickery.

One story that all my cousins know (remember, there were 8 sisters...and they all had kids) was about the time a cow was butchered to provide meat for all the families (it really was a small village) and the soldiers found out about it and came to take all the meat for themselves. One of the neighbor boys saw them coming to the farm and ran quickly to warn the villagers that they were coming to collect their share.

Everyone was in a panic.

My grandmother pretended to be deathly ill and jumped into bed, but first took the various packages of cow meat and hid it under the covers with her.

Evidently her "illness" and the wailing my mom and her sisters did, as well as the comments from the helpful neighbors who were at the house visiting the "poor, sick woman" disturbed the soldiers enough that they hastily left the house, believing that there was no butchered cow but some kind of serious, contagious disease.


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