Invisible hero

Invisible hero

by Stephanie Donahoe

Editor’s Note: Stephanie Donahoe, from Nashville, Tenn., wrote Invisible Hero and One Man’s Trash because she is “a proud U.S. citizen who can sympathize with the families of those who are fighting for our great nation.” Pictured to the right is  Stephanie’s beautiful daughter. Check out more of Stephanie’s work at:

At the conclusion of her father’s funeral, a decorated soldier approached the one surviving daughter of the deceased war hero. He was holding a folded U.S. flag, dog tags, and a crumpled letter spotted with blood stains and smudged fingerprints.

He looked into her tear-filled eyes and said, “My name is Thomas; I’m so sorry for your loss. You see, I was your father’s best friend. He saw an enemy gunman aiming at me, then came up from behind and pushed me to the ground causing the bullet to pierce his heart instead of mine. I told him I would go get help, but he grabbed my arm and insisted there was no need. He told me he wanted a pen and paper. So I quickly carried him out of enemy fire and got it for him. Writing you this letter is how he spent the last few moments of his life. He ask me to make sure you received it at his funeral. This was the only request he had.”

So with tear-dimmed eyes and a heart full of gratitude, she hugged and thanked the gentlemen, took her father’s belongings, and walked away. She put her Daddy’s dog tags around her neck; clinched the folded flag under her arm; then carefully opened the letter, and this is what it said:

I wasn’t there to see your world debut
I didn’t watch you take your very first breath
I wasn’t around to tickle your tiny feet
Or give you kisses on your little head
I wasn’t there to hear you say your first words
Or teach you how to throw a ball
You never took your first steps towards me
I wasn’t around to catch you when you would fall
I didn’t pack your lunch
on your first day of school
Or sing silly songs while on the way there
I didn’t tell you bedtime stories
Or wipe your tears when you were scared
I didn’t get to intimidate your high school dates
Or chaperon your dance
I didn’t get to tell you how much you look like your Mom
Or how beautiful you looked in that dress
I was absent from all family photos
I wasn’t present on your wedding day
I missed out on that smile that looks like mine
I wasn’t there to give you away
You see, while you were taking
your very first breath
I was on course to taking my last

As your lil’ eyes were taking in your new world
My mind was flashing to memories of the past
As you were saying your first words
I was fighting for freedom of speech
As you were taking your first strong steps
Mine were weakening on pearl harbors beach
While your mom was packing
your first school lunch
I was fighting for your education
As you were saying the pledge
of allegiance in class
I was protecting our flag from annihilation
While confetti fell at your high school prom
Fallen soldiers gasp for one last breath
As you clasp your mother’s pearls
around your neck
I was holding your picture
to my chest
While you dressed in white
to say “I do”
I was suiting up in camouflage
As you gave your heart to your true love
A bullet pierced mine and became lodged
Though we never had the chance to meet
I hope to be in the dreams upon your pillow
I gave my last breath to ensure your first
In an attempt to be your hero
I want you to know that I’m proud of you
And I hope one day you’ll be proud of me
Cherish every moment you are given in life
Live FREELY. Think of me.
With Love, Your Daddy

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for hifriends.”
John 15:13 KJV

They fell so we could stand. Their voices were silenced so ours could be heard. They stayed awake fighting the monsters so we could safely tuck in our children at night. Say a prayer for our soldiers, and never take for granted the precious moments they are missing with their families to allow you to spend time with yours.
God Bless the USA

One Man's Trash

Editor’s Note: Stephanie Donahoe wrote this to raise awareness about homeless veterans. To read more of her work, go to

One Man’s Trash
His shoes are old and worn
He bundles up in garbage bags
The shirt he wears is a street side find
And underneath it all are his dog tags
He holds up a cardboard sign
It reads,
“Please help I’m hungry & God Bless”
Looks as if he hasn’t bathed in weeks
Still no one insist he be their dinner guest
So the contents of a nearby dumpster
Becomes his supper tonight
He’s not dodging bullets or hand grenades
But rather a different war he fights
Shivering in shame he hides
in the shadows
Escaping judgmental eyes of passersby
You may have noticed
his cuts and bruises
But not the scars he hides inside
He warms himself by a garbage can fire
Then makes his bed on a near park bench
He pulls out an old crumpled photo
With near frostbitten fingers
he’ll tightly clench
The man who kept you safe in your home
Has no place to lay his head
The soldier who once fought
for your freedom
Now fights hunger pains instead
As your family says Grace
at the dinner table
A veteran goes hungry tonight
So say a prayer and befriend a stranger
Help him make what he did seem
worth the fight
Society sees him as a worthless bum
But he saw you as a life to save
The absence of his right lower leg
Proves as one of the many sacrifices he made
Look closer at that old tattered coat
You might see a U.S. army patch
And with just one small act of kindness
You very well may save his life right back
So be careful with first glance judgments
And by what means a man you measure
He may be camouflaged
as one man’s trash
When in fact, he’s our nation’s
most cherished treasure


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