A Real American Idol

According to the dictionary a hero is a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.

My simple definition of a hero is someone who acts to help another with no thought for himself.

On February 28, 1923, a baby boy was born to Clara and William Hartwig in Twin Valley, Minnesota. They named their bundle of joy, Elmer. He grew up during the depression with limited education. The Great Depression (1929-39) was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world. Elmer served in the United States Army during World War II in The Battle of Okinawa. He was wounded on the front lines receiving the Purple Heart medal of honor for his bravery; leaving him a disabled military veteran.  In 1948, he married and started working as the chief engineer for the Meeker County Memorial Hospital in Litchfield, MN.  During this time he raised two children and worked more than this one job to make ends meet. After forty years, he retired from his service to the hospital.  In his later years, he suffered with Parkinson’s disease. He lost movement in his arms and legs, his ability to feed himself and walk. Never did anyone hear him complain before he also lost his speech.  He celebrated fifty-five years of marriage to his one and only love of his life before he passed away in 2004.

Elmer was my hero and my dear father. I had the honor to be by his bedside and hear him gasp for his last breath on earth. I held his once strong hands until they turned cold. I continued holding them for another two hours until the hearse arrived.  I can’t possibly tell you all of his unselfish acts of love.  It was only fitting that he had a full military funeral. Every once in a life time if we are fortunate, our lives are touched by someone like my hero.  God bless his memory on this his date of birth, eighty-nine years ago.

I am forever grateful for his time on earth,his love for his country,God and his family. ღஜღ  Rosie


6 Responses

  1. Trudy

    How touching! He paved my way and I didn’t even know it. Happy Birthday, Elmer; I salute you for your service to our country and giving us a wonderful lady, your daughter, Rosie!

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