Heroes are made by the circumstances they find themselves and Vaughn’s circumstances were these. A war ends and he is born. Another war rages as he grows but it is not until the start of yet another war when I come along to chronicle his heroism.
Two respected voices rang out for me during the long years of the Vietnam War. One was Walter Cronkite who informed the nation nightly about a grizzly ‘Death Toll.” The other came from the heavy black phone in the den when Vaughn would call home. He was my hero.
Vaughn had no Red Badge of Courage, thank God. For a purple heart would be tainted against his ‘award’ and the Congressional Medal of Honor would barely glint on the brightest of days when held next to his. You see Vaughn had a brass shooting award. And it had rifles dangling from a bull-eyes target. Now how cool is that! Imagine being a ten year old kid and having your brother give you that--best thing ever!
It was either a cloudy day, or night was soon to fall, but I rushed to the door to see Vaughn lifting his ginormous duffle bag out of the front trunk of his grey VW ‘super’ bug. It had been forever since I’d seen him. He’d grown a foot taller than Paul Bunyan and was so strong he hefted me high into the sky, and I soared and roared with happiness. But he was home now, at least for a time, a soldier, a brother, my hero. He said he was taking me camping, just imagine my glee, it would be just Paul Bunyan and me.