Author's Name: Jay Harden

Title: "Two Kinds of Heroes"

There are two kinds of heroes.

First are those that died over there—
we gave them all the qualities
we desired and they deserved;
and we forgave them every mistake,
especially their dying,
secretly grateful the moment
they took our place,
bad luck for our good.

After a while,
the dead became noble 
without exception,
and in that while,
we thought 
we were not.

It is easier to love the dead,
who died for us,
than ourselves 
for determined surviving;
much harder to persist 
invisible with war wounds
beside our accidental enduring.

There are two kinds of heroes:
those that died over there,
and those that kept on living
anyway.

John H. Harden, Jr.
1st Lieutenant, USAF
99th Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force, Strategic Air Command
1968-1969