by Stephanie from Pickerington

A hero is many things with many attributes. One attribute that isn't necessary to be a hero is bravery. Most people categorize a hero as someone who did something brave and risked their life, but that's not all what a hero can be. They can be just a normal person who you just look up to. They could not even be brave but have other traits that make them stand out. It could be someone who is a leader, might be bright, or athletic, and maybe even someone who just cares for others. A hero really is just someone that inspires you and you look up to. This inspiration could come from an attribute they have that you would like to obtain.

Having a hero can be a very important thing in life. A hero is someone you look up to and want to be like. So having a hero can help you obtain higher goals you have in life. For instance, say you are a gymnast and your hero is Shawn Johnson. Your goal is to be just as good as her and you strive to do this. You can achieve more with the push to be just as good as her that maybe one day you will. This can push you to reach higher levels that you might not have reached if you hadn't had that inspiration from your hero.

The angel of mercy
The angel of mercy

The character in my book that portrays characteristics of being a hero is Geertrui Wesseling. She shows many of these characteristics with one being determination. This is one because she will not let Jacob die and is determined to keep him alive by leaving her house and taking him with her. "I don't care, Papa. I'm going to do what I can to help him"(Chambers,72). This quote shows that she will help him, and do what it takes. She also talks about how he is not fit enough to go out, and would get killed for sure. So she is protecting him from his certain death. She says how she has done so much for him already and is going to keep doing so. "Well, in these last few days I've done more for this man than I have ever done for my brother. Isn't it only right that I help him now?"(Chambers,73). This also shows her dedication at keeping him alive. To Jacob, Geertrui was definitely a hero. He would even call her his angel of mercy, or Angel Maria.

Another reason why I feel Geertrui is a hero because before she died she wanted to tell Sarah, Jacob's wife, that her child, Tessel's father, was actually Jacob. She wanted to set things right before she died so that she knew when she died she had left no secret untold. It takes some real courage, I believe, to tell some one that after all the years. "There was someone else to whom I had to make confession. Your grandmother, Sarah.......When I invited your grandmother to visit me, I had it in mind to tell her"(Chambers,261). These sentences show that she wanted to tell Sarah. I find it amazing that even though she was about to die she still wanted to share this piece of information so badly. This makes Geertrui more of a hero than I might ever be and makes me have great respect for this old lady.

Geertrui Wesseling is a hero that is worth recognition. A recognition she deserves is to be inducted into a hero hall of fame. She showed courage during the war in helping a soldier as much as she could to survive. Risking her own life to save this man. She brought this man with her in the midst of battle to a farmhouse where her brother was staying with his best friend Dirk. She cared for this soldier and saved him from death by his injury. She left her mother and father not knowing that it would be the last time she would ever see her father. Would you do this for a soldier you barely knew? Not many would say yes. For this I believe she deserves to be inducted into a hero hall of fame.

1.Did you ever think twice about not leaving Jacob?
Answer:Never did I think of leaving him. For some reason this man meant something to me and I knew I could not leave him. For then he would surely die and I was going to do anything I could to save this man I had nursed so gingerly.
2. Who was your hero throughout the war?
Answer: My hero throughout the war was definitely the British soldiers who came to liberate us. They were men who had never even met us but came anyways to try and free us from the awful Germans. They were real heroes.
3. Who was your role model throughout war?
Answer: My role model was my mom. She always knew how to take control of a situation and remain calm. I was always impressed by this. Mrs. Wesseling was also able to do this too and it really helped me through.
4. Has a role model ever let you down?
Answer: Yes I think perhaps Mrs. Wesseling did. She was always such a level person and calm, but when her son, Dirk, left her she completely fell apart. It was sad to see this happen. She became a completely opposite person of the woman she had been.
5. Does a hero have to be a role model as well?
Answer: No, not necessarily, because someone could just have a moment of courage that could cause them to be a hero but might not have aspects that could stand them out as a role model.
6. What characteristics does a role model have?
Answer: A role model is someone who could have characteristics of being a leader or following what they are told. They are just people who set an example.
7. Do you think you are a role model?
Answer: No, not completely. I do not always have the characteristics of being a role model. I would not obey what my parents told me to do during the war about staying with them. Also, I was with Jacob when he had a wife. I was not much of a role model in those aspects.
8. Do you think that heroism is something that is planned or just something that happens?
Answer: I believe that being a hero isn't something that is planned out. Being a hero means that when you are in a situation you just do something because you know that is right. For instance, when I took Jacob with me it was something that just happened. It was the right thing to do so I did it. I didn't think that I wanted to be a hero and save Jacob.
9. What do you consider to be a hero?
Answer: A hero I would say is someone who inspires you to do something or could possible change you in a good way to guide you in a better direction. Most of all though I think that anyone could be a hero.
10. Do you consider yourself a hero?
Answer: I believe that some people may say I am a hero for what I did for Jacob, but I am not sure I would consider myself one. What I did, caring for him, is something that anyone in that situation would have done.

Page created on 4/7/2011 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 4/7/2011 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery - In the book this is the cemetery where Jacob is buried and where the young Jacob visited his dead grandfather's grave.


Chambers, Aiden . Postcards from No Man's Land. New York, New York: Penguin Group, 1999.

Author Info

Geertrui was a young woman while World War Two was occurring. Her town was being freed at last from the Germans but not all goes as planned. Many soldiers are injured and take refuge in Geertrui's house with her father and mother. One soldier though stands out to Geertrui and she starts to nurse this injured soldier named Jacob. Soon Geertrui falls in love with this loving man and risks her life to save his life and also her own.