Saturday, November 19, 2016

Valor in Everyday Life

US Special Forces extraction by Company A, 2nd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, Afghanistan January 2010. (Source)
Juvat has found a new (to us) WordPress website where I expect to spend some time visiting and reading. The place is called War Tales and was put together by Don Moore, a Florida newspaperman. He's put together about 900 personal war stories of Florida veterans from almost every war the United States has fought.

I've also added that link to the Blog Roll under the Newbies (New to me anyway...) category. Go and learn when you've got the chance. Worth your time I'd say.

While casting about for something to write about for Saturday's post I was momentarily distracted by reading my e-mail. 'Twas there that I got the communique from Juvat informing me of his find. Checking that place out reinforced the idea I had in mind for Saturday's post.

We tend to forget that the men and women we read about in the history books were real people. Real, everyday, down to earth people for the most part. Folks who grew up much like you and me. They had favorite things. Things they feared. Things they liked, things they didn't like.

They had families, they had friends. They went to school. They did homework and studied for tests. No doubt quite a few semi-freaked out when a pop quiz was thrown at them unexpectedly. I would bet that they, like most of us, settled down and got on with it.

We also tend to forget, well I do at times, that the enemy were and are living, breathing human beings. Perhaps not just like us but close enough. As Shylock might put it, "If you prick us, do we not bleed?"

Of course, the main character in The Merchant of Venice was pointing out the similarities between Christians and Jews. But does that question not apply to people of different cultures and beliefs everywhere? In every period of history?

Yes and no.

Sometimes ideology will drive our species to do stupid things. Sometimes evil things. Sometimes disturbing, irrational things. But underneath it all, we're still all from the same species. So we're alike in construction and design, we need to breathe, we need to eat, we need to drink. We are more alike than we are different.

But when we allow ourselves to get carried away by our greed, our passions, and our hatreds, that's what causes strife. Which can lead to mistrust, hatred, and violence.

I am deeply troubled by the divisions in my country. People are beside themselves with worry, with fear, and even hatred. The news media stirs those emotions, they have become too self-centered, I think, to even understand what it is they are doing.

It saddens me. I even see rifts in my own family.

I really hope that everyone takes a deep breath and considers the important things in life. Especially in this season of Thanksgiving.

Sometimes just shouldering one's burdens and pressing on towards the goal is valorous. It's easy to give up, to weep and wail. Carrying on takes guts.

We all have a bit of hero in us. Just as we all have a little cowardice in us as well. It's what you do day to day and how you interact with those around you which will make a difference.

Be that difference. Be brave, soldier on.

Those who died for us expect nothing less.


  1. It is a cool site, isn't it? Knew you'd like it. Came across it last week in my post on Col Kasler. Mr Moore had an article on a Kadena guy that flew Thuds and had gone TDY in it to Vietnam in the early days. The next couple of hours were lost.

  2. I'm not sure it's possible after the divisive politics over the last 8 years, but I'm hoping Trump can unite somewhat by putting country first and not an agenda. He has an agenda also of course but I think it's more country-centric than ideology-centric.

    1. I have my hopes that the American people will wake up and not let the politicians set the agenda. That's what the real problem is, we've become a nation of sheep led by fools in political office.

      They're supposed to represent us, NOT lead us.

    2. I would state that as represent us, not RULE us. Leadership is important (e.g. Following the law not being "exempted" from it).

    3. Good correction, leadership is good, stop trying to rule us.

      (Commenting before the second cuppa is always dicey.)

  3. Thanksgiving dinner will be trying. Love the people but not their political views. I'm resolved to not discuss politics. Saddens me because communication is central to finding common beliefs.

    1. It could be for me as well. I might need to bite my tongue at times.

      Hopefully, come Friday, I still have a tongue!

  4. WSF has the right of it. I fear that many households will have the same issue. Mine included.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. I'm hoping we can leave our politics at the door when we gather.

      Of course, I still believe in Santa Claus as well.

  5. Politics is a good way to 'destroy' any family gathering... sigh... Would that folks would actually be civil, but I fear that time is long past.

  6. Great post Sarge.

    The easiest thing in the world is to dehumanize human beings. The hardest thing is to, as a first principle, embrace and cherish the humanity of each and every human. One way leads to Lord of the Flies, the other to The Shining City on a Hill.


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