Heroes Day

It was heroes day in heaven, and the main street through the middle of town was crowded with all the folks newly arrived from Earth.
This one guy was fairly hopping from one foot to the other. He nudged a little girl standing next to him.
“You’re gonna see the big dudes now,” he said. His eyes were peering over everyone’s heads and down the street. “Gee, I hope George Washington is leading the parade.”
“So this George Washington is a hero?” the child asked.
“Where have you been, kid? Of course, George Washington is a hero!”
“Oh, I’ve been here in heaven quite a while. Why is he a hero?”
“He won the war against the British and made America free!”
“Oh, a war.” She paused. “What’s this America?”
“You have been here a long time, haven’t you? Well, I don’t have the time to tell you all about America and its heroes. The parade is about to begin. Watch and learn.”
A blast of trumpet ripped through the air, and the drummers started beating their snares. All heads were turned to see the procession coming around the corner. In single file marched gray-haired, stoop-shouldered women, frail balding men, wispy limbed children and care-worn teen-agers. As they passed the heavenly horde and felt the embrace of hurrahs and cheers, their faces brightened, and they seemed to walk with a little bit more pep in their step. The man, newly arrived from the twenty-first century, wrinkled his brow and pouted.
“Who are these people? Where’s George Washington? Where’s General Patton? Where’s Robert E. Lee?”
“The first person in line is Bessie McGrew,” the girl said. “She took care of her mother and father after they had yellow fever. Most people die of yellow fever, and those who do survive need a lot of care. And that teen-aged boy over there, Benny Turnhow, jumped into the river to save his little sister from drowning. Except both of them died anyway. And the little girl behind him, Miriam, she hugged a man with leprosy who was being driven out of the village. Her family wouldn’t let her come home so she lived with the leper colony. Poor thing. She died the next year. Then there’s Joe Marino who got himself blown up to save his friends.”
“That’s all very well and good, but where are the real heroes?” the man asked impatiently.
“They are the real heroes.” The little girl’s voice hardened.
The man spit in disgust. “That’s what I get for talking to a kid.”
“Just who the hell do you think you are, Henry Peckworth?” A bellowing basso profundo erupted from the child’s lips.
His eyes widened, surprised to hear such a big voice from such a small girl. “Who—who are you? And how did you know my name?” he asked in a whisper.
“I am God,” the little girl replied in her deep voice. “I run this place, and I know everybody’s name.”
“Of course, you do.” The man backed up and lowered his head.
“You never did tell me why you think you’re so special, Henry Peckworth.”
“George Washington was my great-great-great-great uncle on my mother’s side.”
“Henry Peckworth, you’re not supposed to be here. You were never kind to anyone a day in your life. I’m going to kick St. Peter’s ass. He’s been slipping up and letting way too many of you people in here.”
The little girl stamped her foot, and Henry Peckworth disappeared. She smiled and looked back at the parade of heroes.
“Now I can have a good time.”