Following up on…

Following up on Portraits of War’s April 11 post of a photo of the five-man squad of litter bearers who among them earned two Distinguished Service Crosses, two Division Citations and a Silver Star. The men were cited for going out under fire to bring back the wounded. I wondered what it was about this group that brought so much courage in each man.

I have a theory that any of us can be courageous — once. I could drag you out of a burning car. But I don’t think I would be able to grab someone else another time. In the heat of the moment, we can react … but later, and when we remember the danger we were in, I don’t think we have it in us to do it again.

Well, most of us don’t. These guys did. I wish I knew how.


Headed up the line to bring the wounded back on sleds.

1 thought on “Following up on…

  1. Whether you can repeat a courageous act depends either on your internal or genetic makeup as a “Guardian” personality type, or else by fully adopting the role you are committed to fulfilling even if on a temporary basis. True bravery is not being fearless in the face of danger or death, but rather taking effective action in spite of one’s fear.

    The current example I can refer to based on experience is that of the “volunteer” firefighter who actually comprises more than 80% of our national fire protection services. These individuals commit themselves to saving others from situations most of us would instinctively run away from despite the risks to themselves and their families, even though they are not unionized, paid full-time, or hoping to redeem any significant retirement credits. It is just a matter of the bravest doing what they do because that is what they do.

    Ultimately it is an existential question answered by those who have the character to do so.


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