It is not often that you encounter a real life Hero.
I mean, there are the heros who will always touch your life; Parents, or the dog that saved its owner that you read about in the Readers Digest.
But you can’t rationally have a crush on a dog, and though I love my parent madly, I am very glad that they are married to each other.
And so there is something wonderfully special when you read a book, fall in love with a character, then realize that he is real. He is one hundred percent flesh and blood.
My first crush was real.
He was a soldier.
He was honorable
He was brave
He was kind
He was wise
He could make me laugh
He could make my heart melt
And he never even did anything romantic!
But when he stood up in front of the men he lead, and through the author’s words I could see that they would trust their lives to him, I knew that I could too.
And I knew that someday I would marry a man like him. Because he actually existed; there are men like that in this world.
His name is Maj. Richard Winter, and he died on January 2, 2011 at the age of 93. He led Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division through Normandy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Purple Heart. He created military tactics that are still studied in military academies today.
The book, Band of Brothers, by Stephen Ambrose, tells his story, and those of others who fought in Easy Company, some good, some bad. But they are real, it actually happened, and this is something that I might someday actually be able to find.
So I suppose this would not accurately be called a first crush, (or if it is I am a little obsessed) but it is my first encounter with manhood, and I am deeply, everlastingly in love.