Jewish World Review Nov. 25 , 2002 / 20 Kislev, 5763

Dan Abrams

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The story of a real American hero | These days we seem to be fading back to that pre-9/11 habit of calling everyone from athletes to minor do-gooders, heroes. My definition of a true hero is someone who knowingly puts his or her safety or life on the line to help others. And so, when I read in "The New York Times" about the death of Medal of Honor winner James Hendrix, I thought to myself, that guy defines the term.

It was December of 1944, World War II. U.S. forces surrounded and under fire, at the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. In one day, then Private Hendrix, 5'6", 125 pounds, single-handedly captured 13 German soldiers, two of them in hand-to-hand combat, helped rescue two wounded American soldiers by silencing German machine gun positions, then helped another trapped in a burning armored vehicle while under fire.

Hendrix was quoted a year later saying "I wasn't being brave and if I had ever heard of the Medal of Honor, I didn't pay it no mind. A feller just figures, if it's his time, it's his time."

Well, you don't have to premeditate bravery and so today, I want to salute and thanks James Hendrix, one of the many men who fought for my freedom before I was even born.

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JWR contributor Dan Abrams anchors “The Abrams Report,” Monday through Friday from 6-7 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV. He also covers legal stories for “NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Today” and “Dateline NBC.” To visit his website, click here. Comment by clicking here.


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