Thursday, August 24, 2006

 

Putting Others First

Joe Katzman at Winds of Change links to a review Oliver Stone’s new movie World Trade Center, written by Rev. Paul W. McNellis at the Democracy Project.

Rev. McNellis’s review stands as an excellent essay on what constitutes courage, as applicable on September 10th, 2001, as it was on September 11th. The difference, McNellis poetically underscores in his piece, is that courage built in the day to day, remains constant at a moment of greatest danger, and fear:

We see people putting others first, on this, the worst day of their lives because they’ve been doing it every day of their lives. And if you spend your life as a husband and father putting those you love first, then when the crucial day comes chances are that as a policeman you’ll put the people in the North Tower first as well.

(snip)

Courage is not the absence of fear. Anyone present at ground zero that day would have been a fool not to feel fear. We see that these men are afraid, but they overcome it. And fear isn’t overcome without leaders. Sgt. McLoughlin asks for volunteers; the others can say yes or no. Jimeno is the first to say yes, and then others follow his example.

Courage as a virtue is increasingly misunderstood in our society, especially among the keyboard class. As our lives become more comfortable and protected, we forget who does the protecting.

We in the military recognize this attitude of service, we’ve lived it, more or less, though always with less certainty of our own steadfastness and resilience, than what we see clearly in our fellow soldiers. “If you weren’t afraid, you’d be a moron,” one of my Master Sergeants often said.

Read the whole thing.



Cross-posted at Milblogs



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