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Just a Humble Hero: A Short Story Based on a Poem

John has many years of writing experience in poetry, short fiction and text for children's books. Basically, he just loves to write.


Just a Tramp (a poem)

This short story was inspired by my poem 'Just a Tramp', one of my earliest hubs. I felt that it told an important and timeless story and was a good vehicle to expand further. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this tale.

  • Just A Tramp
    This poem has the theme 'don't judge a book by it's cover' that hopefully has a message for us all in how to treat our fellow man.

Just a Humble Hero

Jim shuffled restlessly on the slatted bench, an oversized army trenchcoat his only protection against the chill in the air. Sitting up, he pulled a metal canteen from his coat, unscrewed the cap, and took a swig. When the last mouthful of liquid slid down his throat he shook the canteen as though hoping it had been magically refilled, but only a few drops flicked out.

Most of the park's residents drank cheap wine, but not Jim. Whisky warmed your body and helped keep the cold at bay, and besides, he had his pride. Nobody could call Jim a wino, a hobo maybe, but never a wino.

Yes, he still had his pride, and his health, for that he was thankful. Everything else was gone. Jim was only 56 though he looked ten years older. He scratched the greying stubble on his chin and tried to contemplate his life.

On leaving school he joined an engineering firm as an assistant draftsman, but his career was cut short in 1966 when he was conscripted for National Service and, along with a number of his friends, was sent to Vietnam and the war against the spread of Communism.

After serving three years in Hell he returned home as Warrant Officer James Morgan, and was awarded the 'Victoria Cross' for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. He felt this honour was undeserved but wore the medal as a constant and grim reminder of his friends and comrades who died in action.

Jim's marriage to Diana had lasted eight years and produced a wonderful son, Jeremy, and beautiful daughter Felicity. Constant flashbacks and occasional violent outbursts were both a legacy from the war and a danger to his family, so one day, after leaving a brief note to his wife, Jim simply packed a bag and left.

Family and friends judged him harshly for this and called him an "asshole" and other derogatory terms for leaving his young family. There wasn't one day that passed, however, that he didn't feel guilty at what he'd done, even though he felt it was for the best at the time. He had undergone counselling for more than three months on his return from combat but the psych just enforced the feeling of futility and guilt at having engaged in the war. Any pride he may have felt at having fought for his country, evaporated. After each counselling session, Jim left feeling more depressed then before he went in.

He had no hope of resuming his previous promising career, and despite an occasional part-time job, was unable to land a permanent position due to his PTSD. Feeling depressed and worthless he found solace in a bottle.

Each year on his children's and wife's birthdays, Jim would go out of his way to send cards and even forgo his much cherished bottle of bourbon for that week so he could afford to buy Diana a bottle of what he remembered to be her favourite perfume, 'Tweed'. It saddened, but didn't surprise him that there was never a reply. Besides, where would they send it, 'No Fixed Abode?' Jeremy and Felicity would be grown now, probably with families of their own. He brushed away a tear as he realised he could be a grandfather, and wouldn't even know.

Vietnam Frontline

Vietnam Frontline


Jim stood up, ran his fingers through his untidy hair, and ambled over to a nearby trash bin. Reaching in, he located a half-eaten hot dog and yesterday's newspaper, but his scavenging was rudely interrupted by a tall young police officer who exclaimed, "OK Pop, move along! The cafe's closed."

Stuffing what remained of the hot dog in his mouth, Jim folded the newspaper and placed it in his jacket pocket. He strolled along the pathway unconsciously obeying a sign, 'PLEASE KEEP OFF THE GRASS'. Now and then he would stoop to pick up a piece of paper or anything that caught his eye. Jim often came across small change and, once even found a twenty dollar bill with which he bought the trenchcoat at the Army Disposals. Besides, picking up rubbish helped to keep the park tidy. While he lived here it was the least he could do.

An attractive young woman hurried past clutching the hand of a small boy whose short legs were forced almost into a run to keep up.

"Hurry up, Michael!" she scolded, "You're already late for school."

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The boy's backpack slipped from his shoulder, slowing them down as he stooped to hitch it back up. "But, Mommy, who's that man?" he asked inquisitively, pointing at Jim.

"Oh, he's just a tramp," she replied uncaringly, "Don't point, it's rude!"

Jim smiled as they passed, and bowed slightly. He was used to such remarks.

"Just a tramp," he repeated quietly to himself as the woman and boy stopped at a kiosk near the park's entrance.


The woman momentarily let go of her son's hand to reach for her purse. Immediately he was captivated by a flock of pigeons nearby. Suddenly she turned and cried, "Michael, come back!"

The boy was racing after a bird which was now flying towards the busy street, and he seemed oblivious to both the traffic and his mother's frantic screams.

Brakes screeched as Michael burst onto the busy road, but the car could not stop in time. As if from nowhere a powerful arm appeared, gripping the boy around the waist and pulling him to safety.

Jim had acted impulsively. In Vietnam quick reflexes were a necessity for staying alive, and he had used them now to save a life.

The frightened boy was hugged by his distraught mother, "Oh Mikey, are you alright?" she sobbed. Eventually realising that her son wasn't hurt, but lucky to be alive, she turned to Jim.

"Thank you Sir, you saved my son's life," she said genuinely thankful. "How can I repay you?"

Jim looked at them for a moment, a touch of nostalgia about his own family invading his thoughts. "A buck for a cup of coffee. That'd suit me fine," he said rubbing his whiskers nervously.

People began to crowd around the boy, and someone even bought him an ice cream cone. The driver of the car had recovered from his initial shock as well and was busy offering his sincere apologies. Then the young police officer, who had been taking statements, gave Michael a gentle lecture on road safety.

Crowds made Jim nervous, so he took the dollar, bought a cup of coffee at the canteen, then quietly walked back towards the security of the park.

A news crew had finally arrived, and a reporter approached Michael's mother. "Excuse me Madam, can you tell me what happened?"

"That man!" she replied, pointing after Jim. "He saved my boy's life. He's a hero."

The reporter wasted no time in pursuing the shabby hobo, and bombarding him with questions. He saw the cross pinned to Jim's chest and subsequently a headline appeared in the next day's 'Bulletin' -- "WAR HERO SAVES BOY'S LIFE."

Being a celebrity was not Jim's ambition and he shunned further publicity. He refused to speak to another reporter regarding the incident. Even a couple generous offers from magazines to buy his story were politely refused.

Life in the park soon returned to normal.

Sitting quietly on 'his' bench, Jim unpinned the 'Victoria Cross' and polished it on his sleeve. "Maybe I do deserve you after all," he said with a grin, then re pinned it on the lapel of his coat.

The Victoria Cross

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for acts of bravery in wartime. It was instituted in 1856 by Queen Victoria and made retrospective to 1854 to cover the period of the Crimean War. It is possible for any serving member of the armed forces to obtain this award.

The Victoria Cross is designed in the form of the Maltese Cross: in the centre of the medal is a lion guardant standing upon the Royal Crown. The words "For valour" are inscribed below. The Victoria Cross is suspended from a crimson ribbon. On the reverse of the cross the date of the act of bravery is inscribed, along with the name, rank, and unit of the recipient.


The cover for "We Go On - A Veteran's Anthology for Charity. It should be available for sale from March 9, 2015.

The cover for "We Go On - A Veteran's Anthology for Charity. It should be available for sale from March 9, 2015.

Unexpected but Welcome News

Recently I was checking my emails when I came across one titled "Anthology". I opened it and was excited to read this: "Thank you for your submission to We Go On – A Veteran’s Anthology for Charity. At this time I am thrilled to offer you acceptance for your fiction Story, Just a Humble Hero. Before I can send a contract, I will need your Real Name and Pen Name, as well as an address which is only for contract purposes, but later will use to send you a copy of the anthology. After that, I will send you a contract for non-exclusive rights to publish your submission........Thank You, Kiki"

This was my first ever acceptance letter for a piece of my writing so I was very excited. I have had one poem previously accepted for publication in an anthology out of the many I have entered into contest and such but this is the first short story I have submitted and was pleasantly surprised to have accepted.

Pre-orders Now Available

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 John Hansen


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 22, 2019:

Thanks for the check-up Eric. Glad you liked this little story. As for you mallow, I only have one thing to say..”Mellow out!” Lol

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on April 22, 2019:

Just checking up on you friend. what a great piece. My mallow is giving me fits. But almost done

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 04, 2018:

Thank you, Sue, for reading this and your generous comment.

Suzanne Angwin Smith from Australia on August 04, 2018:

Good Story. liked it a lot. pictures fitted the story.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on April 14, 2018:

Li-Jen, thanks for reading another of my hubs. Glad you learnt a moral lesson lol. I appreciate the congratulations on having it published too.

Li-Jen Hew on April 14, 2018:

Hello Jodah. Clever idea, writing a short story based on a poem. Enjoyed reading it. I got the moral lesson haha. Congratulations on your first publication of a short story..didn't wish you that time. Thanks for sharing. :)

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on March 16, 2017:

Thank you for reading this piece, and allow for your generous comment.

Jake Clawson from Kazakhstan on March 16, 2017:

Excellent, moving piece, sir. Really enjoyed from beginning to end; this world needs heroes and they are among us; any piece about them is valuable as more people need to hear about their deeds and sacrifices. God bless and eternal respects to them. Keep up the good work sir.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on September 15, 2015:

Thank you Vellur, many brave men and women sacrifice so much to fight for freedom and their countries for little reward. Men like Jim need to be acknowledged.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 15, 2015:

Jim is a true hero in every way. He left his young family to fight to save his country. Even though he was shunned by others he has a right to be happy and live. Sad that his wife and son just left him.This story touched my heart, great write. He definitely deserved the Victoria Cross.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 13, 2015:

Last, but certainly not least, Sallieann. Thank you so much for sharing what you wrote. Sometimes for what seems an unknown reason you are compelled to write something that you feel needs to be said. I think the Lord directs us to use whatever we are skilled at, in this case it was your writing. I often have the same feelings that my fingers are being led to the words I need to write. I am totally in agreement with every word you wrote and feel you should expand it into a hub so more can see the message. The quote from Matthew 25:40 says it all. Keep up all your good work.

sallieannluvslife from Eastern Shore on February 12, 2015:

I seem to be the last person on earth (or at least Hubpages earth) to have found this wonderful story! Its funny, but I volunteer for free lunches at our church for homeless or others who may not have enough money for food and at a shelter on nights when the temps get below 35 degrees and I have met some of the most amazing people...people who have touched my life and changed who I am... I recently felt compelled to write something - you know that feeling when something is bothering you and even if no one ever reads it, you have to just empty the words from your brain before you can go on or it will just drive you crazy...I'll share it with you because you will understand where it came from (keep in mind this is just words flowing from my fingertips, not edited or revised so it is what it is): The HOMELESS are just that….HOME-LESS…they are NOT brainless, they are NOT useless, and they are NOT without feelings.

THINK… it could be you…

When you crawl into your warm bed at night REMEMBER the blessings in your life…even the small things…because you have them…others do not.

If you see someone on the street, don’t assume things about them, they are human beings just like us. Smile and say “Hello” and see if you can help them or if there is anything they need…treat them like a friend…we are all God’s children and they are our brothers and sisters.

Donate a little of your time and volunteer at a local shelter or food kitchen…you never know what you will learn about others…and yourself.

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Matthew 25:40

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 11, 2015:

Thank you for reading Kylyssa, and for your kind comment. Glad you enjoyed the story.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 11, 2015:

Thelyricwriter, thank you so much for taking the time to read this and for your touching comment. Yes our veterans (whether homeless or not) deserve our respect and we need to help and rely on one another. So glad this touched you and that you enjoyed the story. Thanks for the share and vote up too.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 11, 2015:

Sorry to move you to tears Emese, but thank you for your generous comment.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 11, 2015:

Hi Mary, thanks for the touching comment. I thought most of my long time followers would have read this by now, but I have quite a few new ones, so I thought I'd reshare. Glad I did as you had missed this the first time. Thank you for the vote up and share too.

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on February 11, 2015:

Thank you for writing this touching short story and congratulations on your acceptance into the anthology.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on February 11, 2015:

Thank you Sallybea, I am glad this story seemed real to life and that you could picture yourself in the story. That something we writers strive for.

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on February 11, 2015:

We all need to reach out and help each other. We share this world together and if we can't rely on each other than who can we rely on other than God. This story tugged on my heartstrings. They go fight for our freedom and come home to the streets. These men and women deserve better and respect. God Bless them all! Thank you for this beautiful true story. Sharing and voting up!

Emese Fromm from The Desert on February 11, 2015:

This was a such a good read. I'm still in tears. Wonderful writing, great story, thank you for sharing it.

Mary Craig from New York on February 11, 2015:

I am so glad this was reposted and I had the chance to read it. I have to admit John, I cried through most of it. The plight of our veterans has not gotten any better and this beautiful story is such a poignant truth.

Congratulations on having it accepted for publication. Maybe, just maybe, one person will read it that can actually help veterans. God bless.

Voted all but funny, shared, and google+

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on February 11, 2015:


This is a wonderful read. I read it from beginning to end and was completely captivated. I could have been there and I am so glad I came across it today.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 19, 2014:

Oh colorfulone, I don't know how many readers this story has brought to tears.I think I'll have to supply a box of tissues. Thanks for reading and for your kind comment. There are a lot of silent heroes among us.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 19, 2014:

Thank you Bil, you are spot on. Don't judge a book by its cover.

Susie Lehto from Minnesota on November 19, 2014:

Great story that had me in tears, Jodah. You captivated my attention from the start and kept it. There are many in this world like Jim, and they are heroes.

Bill from Greensburg Pennsylvania on November 19, 2014:

Great story we all need to not judge people so harshly by there looks.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 19, 2014:

Hello aesta1, My father also fought in WWII and would very rarely discuss the war or watch any war movies etc he was so scarred by what he saw and experienced. I am glad there are not many vagrant veterans in Vietnam and there are heroes on both sides of the conflict. The Death March would have been horrific.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 19, 2014:

Thank you for your kind comment Mel. It is sad that many veterans were never really the same person after the horrors they experienced in the various wars and there wasn't a lot of psychological support etc available then. All veterans should be treated as heroes and at the very least with respect.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 19, 2014:

Your story brought tears to my eyes especially because I presently live beside the Hanoi Hilton (Hoa Lo Prison) here in Hanoi, Vietnam. It is sad how as a society we have failed our heroes. I don't see any vagrant hero here in Vietnam. My father also fought in WW2 and went through the Death March. He never was healthy physically so he died early. We never heard him talk of the war.

Melody Lassalle from California on November 18, 2014:

Jodah, I found this story so touching. I actually had tears well up in my eyes at the end.

Before my Dad died 4 years ago, I had the chance on many occasions to sit with him and our elderly neighbor in the afternoon. My Dad was in the Korean Conflict and my neighbor in WWII. I can say that even though those two went on to live regular lives, unlike the man in your story, the scars were there. 40-50 years later they still carried around some of the horrors that they had seen. Veterans need and deserve our compassion.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 12, 2014:

Hi Stella, thank you for reading this story and the other comments. Yes some of the early comments were critical of Jim for leaving his family and not seeking help. I did add a little extra explain action for his decision later, but you are correct, there was little help available to veterans of that war. I think there is a lot more assistance available today for Iraq, Afghanistan veterans but many many of them suffer PTS still. I appreciate your kind words.

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on November 12, 2014:

Hi, A wonderful story that kept me reading on. You write a very interesting story. We have to remember that during Vietnam when the soldiers came home there was not a lot of help for these people. I see in the other comments that some people think there may have been help. A very wonderful Hub, thank you Stella

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 12, 2014:

Thanks for reading Suzette. I am pleased that you enjoyed Jim's story. I feel it has a good message. Thanks also for the positive recommendation of the book "The Things They Carried", the vote up and share. Have a great day.

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 12, 2014:

Beautiful story with a great message. Never judge a book by its cover. This was so heartwarming and great for this holiday season coming up. I have read Tim O'Brien's book and it is so engaging and interesting and I highly recommend it. It is one of the best books I have read of the Viet Nam War. Thanks for sharing this story with us. Voted up+ and shared.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 11, 2014:

Hi Charmain. I am glad you found this a touching story. I thought it was the right time to highlight it for Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in my country). Keep up your good work in helping those heroes.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on November 11, 2014:

So glad you enjoyed this story Audrey. Jim is one of my favourite characters and this story is special to me. Thanks for your kind comment.

Charmain English on November 11, 2014:

What a touching story! It truly moved me. I work with veterans day in and day out, and this story is quite common for many of our nation's heroes!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on November 11, 2014:

This is a touching story of Jim and he deserved the "Victoria's Cross." You have brought out the human emotion that lives in each of us. I do love this so much. Thank you Jodah. Audrey

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on October 19, 2014:

Thank you for reading this Venkatachari M, and for your kind words. Much appreciated.

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on October 19, 2014:

Very interesting story. So beautifully narrated. I love the style.

Thanks for sharing it.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 27, 2014:

Thank you for visiting one of my hubs motherofnations, also for your generous comments. I am glad to meet you here at Hub Pages. Blessings to you.

mothersofnations on August 27, 2014:

Wow, very touching story. They way you write allows me to "see" as if I'm standing right there - wonderful writer - interesting works.

God bless you.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 19, 2014:

Thank you for your kind comment arachnea. I agree with you, it's not always easy to see how our veteran's are scarred from the terrible experiences of war. We have to rely in our humanity to make us treat them with dignity and respect.

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on August 19, 2014:

This is a well written story. Few people realize how deeply marked many military members are when they return home. Some are marked in an apparent way and others more subtly. It's the humanity in us which allows the people around these down-trodden heroes to welcome them back into the fold in spite of their scars. Love this hub.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on August 04, 2014:

Thanks for reading ologsinquito, and for your great comment. So true.

ologsinquito from USA on August 04, 2014:

This is such a good reminder not to judge people by what they are wearing, or their position in life, or race or anything. We just don't know the whole story.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 18, 2014:

Thanks for you encouraging and kind words Mel. Yes, unfortunately we Aussies followed good old Uncle Sam into Vietnam, just like we followed the British into Gallipoli. We sacrificed many young lives for no real reason. It seems we never learn, the same has happened with Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's to the Jim's all over the world.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on July 18, 2014:

That is an absolutely beautiful story, my friend, and brilliantly written. You know, I am ashamed to say this, but it never occurred to me that you fine people down under followed us into that mess that was Vietnam, and what did you get for it? What did any of us get from it except thousands of Jims all over the world? Outstanding, moving hub.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on July 16, 2014:


A grateful pleasure, Sir.

Keep up the good work!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 16, 2014:

Well Alexander, that is one of the most wonderfu comments I have received o any of my hubs. I thank you sincerely for your kind words. This story is special to me and close to my heart. I am glad I described Jim's character well and made him appealing. Your suggestion that a writer s the god of their characters is a good one and that I should reward Jim by continuing his story. Some other writers have a favourite character who they continue on with in further Will Star. Maybe I will do the same. Thank you again.

Alexander Thandi Ubani from Lagos on July 16, 2014:


Such touching story. It arrested my attention and guided it throughout the moments and thrills. You told this story with such flair and easiness no soul would ever resist to empathize with Jim. I immersed myself here in and felt for the veteran. Life could be such a jerk and a hellish union of scrambled events destined to rob the good. You took Jim and unveiled him to us like the unwrapping of the sunflower. Such a man deserves better and must be given what he lost. The effects of war, his abandoned family and drinking habit all tell the tale of why war is not good no matter what.

But you didn't finish the story nah. What later happened after his miraculous exploits? You must make him have a good life ooo. That's one thing I love about being an Author - you are the god of your characters; you decide their fate and all you want is what they must follow.

A most classic piece of storytelling, i must confess. Kudos.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 15, 2014:

Thanks for reading this story Dave, and for your kind comment. Post Traumatic Stress can effect the lives of so many, not just the sufferer, but their families and friends.

David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on July 15, 2014:

Just to add, I see you wrote about PTSD in your hub, people who have worked in emergency ambulance work often suffer from it.

David Edward Lynch from Port Elizabeth, South Africa on July 15, 2014:

This is an inspiring story, it's sad how war and other circumstances in life can affect people sometimes, I think of it as 'post traumatic stress'. Excellent story you have written here.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 12, 2014:

Thank you for that kind comment Monis. Yes they are, but we usually don't recognise them.

Agnes on July 12, 2014:

Beautiful and truly moving story... Heroes are among us, often unnoticed.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 10, 2014:

Thank you Sherry, yes unfortunately life is so fast now that many people don't take the time to look for the true human spirit.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 10, 2014:

Thank you Sherry, yes unfortunately life is so fast now that many people don't take the time to look for the true human spirit.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on July 10, 2014:

It's a very moving story. It can be easy to look past people, and not see the human spirit there.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 09, 2014:

Thank you Shyron. I am glad you enjoyed this story. I appreciate the vote up and share too.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 09, 2014:

John, you held me captive, I expective to find out it was Jim's grandson. You are a fantastic story teller.

Voted up, UABI and Shared.

Blessings to you John

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 09, 2014:

Hello Ghaelach, I hope all is well in your part of the world. Thank you for reading as you say 'this endless tale' and for your generous comment. We can't let these people be forgotten.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 09, 2014:

Thank you for reading and your kind and insightful comment Peg. Yes I also had relatives who fought there and had trouble readjusting.

Ghaelach on July 09, 2014:

Evening John.

Another amazing story.

How many times has this story of a war hero been told. It seems like an endless tale of real people that have been forgotten.

Thanks for sharing.


Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 09, 2014:

This beautifully written story evokes such strong emotions on a number of levels. Our returning veterans have so much to overcome in trying to regain their lives after the horrendous things they have seen. As you've illustrated here, sometimes it just isn't possible. Many of my friends served in Viet Nam and their return home was an ongoing series of adjustments afterward.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 09, 2014:

Thanks Pamela, your kind comment is much appreciated.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 09, 2014:

Another awesome story from you. You are a very unique writer, and it is heart warming to read about a man that is truly a hero.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Thank you for such a kind and generous comment Ann. The ideal world will have no more wars. Sometimes I feel like a preacher as I can't help weaving a message into my stories. Oh well, there are always so many things that need to be said, and people who need to be confronted. Have a great day.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Thanks for reading Jamie. Glad you enjoyed the message.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Thank you for reading and the vote up Harishprasad. We should never judge by appearances only. It is too easy to jump to conclusions and as you say we flock to beauty and glamour which are false gods in a way. Humility and compassion should be instilled in our children so they see the world in a better way. Glad you enjoyed.

Ann Carr from SW England on July 08, 2014:

Love the message on the last picture!

This is a wonderful story, so well told. We certainly shouldn't ever judge people by appearances. You don't know an individual's story until you dig deeper. Such an awful thing that war does this to people, that war exists at all.

You've given us a powerful message here, John. You're a versatile writer; poetry, stories, humour and poignancy are all in your repertoire.

Great stuff!


Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on July 08, 2014:

Thank you for this story, I believe it needed to be told. Jamie

Harish Mamgain from New Delhi , India on July 08, 2014:

It is a very interesting story and written so beautifully and with great passion for life. Like Jim, there are so many guys out there who look very ordinary and we seldom give them our least attention as if they don't exist for us. In fact, we all flock to glamor, beauty and everything that glitters in some respect. John, this story reflects your very empathetic human outlook and is admirable. Wish everybody recognized true value of Jims living around us ! Truly a marvelous story. Loved reading it and enjoyed tremendously. Voted up.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Thanks for your kind comment, vote up and share Gypsy.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on July 08, 2014:

Voted up and interesting. Well done a most captivating and inspirational story. Passing this on.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on July 08, 2014:

You are welcome, Jodah. I knew from reading the first version that Jim had issues with PTSD, but not everyone is familiar with that disorder or how very serious it is. Your story brings this medical condition into light. Great job!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Hi Phyllis, thanks for the great comment and confirmation I did the right thing adding Jim's reasons for leaving his family. Marie Flint's comment that she felt like scolding him convinced me, as did a couple of other comments. Thanks for your insight into the effects of PTSD too. Yes Frank's reply was cool.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 08, 2014:

Hey Frank,that's great praise coming from an excellent story writer like yourself. Thanks pal, much appreciated.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on July 07, 2014:

Jodah, the addition about Jim's personal reasons for leaving his family, adds a lot of insight to him. I am very familiar with PTSD and know the devastating effects of it on the sufferer. I am seeing that the possibility of violent eruptions would be one on Jim's main reasons for leaving his family as a way of protecting them. It takes a strong spouse/family to cope with the PTSD in their loved one and if that is not forthcoming and if proper psychological help is not given, the sufferer is at a loss and often lost to loved ones. Good call on this editing/addition.

PS: I love Frank's reply.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on July 07, 2014:

emotional, strong, raw and in your face writing, I loved it Jodah

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

I have added a little to this story to provide more of an explanation of why Jim decided to leave his family.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Dana, I am glad this story made you feel such emotions. That is a sign that one's writing has succeeded. The subject of this is close to my heart and I find to be a good source of inspiration. There are many silent heroes among us. Thank you for your kind comment, vote up, tweet, share etc.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Thank you for reading this story rasta1. I would enjoy to hear the real life event that you encountered similar to this. I agree with your philosophy to treat everyone as a potential hero.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on July 07, 2014:

Jodah this was very heart touching. I felt anger when the police and the mother saw this poor soul as- worthless. And then I was on the edge of my seat when the kid almost ran out into traffic. Tears fell from my eyes when the mother called him a hero. This story touched me because it is a sad fact as too what has happened to a lot of our Vet's. People who sacrificed their life for their country are now mentally disabled- homeless or jobless. Some of them all three apply. This was a master-piece! Voted up! Tweeted! Shared! Face-book! and awesome.

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on July 07, 2014:

I have experienced an incident like this before. I have always thought of each person as my potential hero even if they are on the streets. You never know what can happen.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Hi Kim, thank you for your generous comment. Always good to see you. I am glad you liked this hub about heroism and the pics too. Take care my friend.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Thanks for reading Flourish. There is an inner struggle in all of us and it's something, that if you can capture, really brings your characters to life. I think I succeeded with Jim.

ocfireflies from North Carolina on July 07, 2014:

Tightly-written and an engaging hub. I love the pics you used. The fact that he did not wish to change his wherewithal demonstrated the true nature of his heroism. Nicely-done my friend. V+ for sure!


FlourishAnyway from USA on July 07, 2014:

This was a great story, John. You connect so well to the characters and emotion in this story. You have terrific empathy for the internal struggle.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Thank you Shauna. glad you enjoyed this.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on July 07, 2014:

This is a beautiful story, John. Jim's a hero, yet chooses the humble life of a hobo. Beautifully penned, my friend!

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

thanks so much Eddy.

Eiddwen from Wales on July 07, 2014:

I can only second all of the above comments. You are indeed a natural writer.


John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

thank you Anna, your comments are always so supportive and encouraging. Sorry to make you cry as well.

Anna Haven from Scotland on July 07, 2014:

This made me cry too. Which is a good thing as your writing has done it's job, and I fully connected with the character and his situation.

You are an excellent story writer as well as poet.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Travmaj, great comment. Thank you so much. Glad you love this character and would like to learn more about his life.

travmaj from australia on July 07, 2014:

A most touching story and as relevant today as in the past. A reminder to all of us not to judge by appearances, not to judge harshly. Referring to an earlier comment I also think this could extend to a novella or novel. So much we don't know about his life, his family, his time in the military, his eventual and probably slow descent into homelessness and alcoholism. Great character to work on. Just saying. Enjoyed your work here.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 07, 2014:

Well Astra, what a comment. Thank you for the kind comparison to Lee Childs. He is one of my favourite writers. I have only written a few short stories, but I suppose being more used to writing poetry helps me to pack a lot into fewer words. Glad you could feel 'the force'.


Yoda..I mean

Cathy Nerujen from Edge of Reality and Known Space on July 07, 2014:

Wow, this was starting to head in to Lee Childs Territory. I was seeing all kinds of possibilities with these characters and the opportunities here are so apparent. Only a great writer could wrangle a great story in such a space here. Your hub is a testimony to your awesome writing skills, Jodah.

As they say in the Star Wars stories, the "Force is strong in this one..."

We might have to change your name from Jodah to Yoda.

John Hansen (author) from Australia (Gondwana Land) on July 06, 2014:

Thanks for reading teaches12345, yes it is a disturbing statistic and although there is some support it is often too difficult to access.

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