I can’t recall ever meeting an American veteran who did not reflect courage. I don’t mean the courage of having been in battle, although I’ve known plenty who have fought for this country. I mean the kind of courage that tells you this person has set his or her life aside for a time to serve his or her country without the absolute assurance that he or she might not have to suffer for it.
The men and women who meet regularly at the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion halls know what this means, and can tell you about it. To them, courage means you put your life on hold so others didn’t have to. How can the rest of us ever be worthy of a gift like that?
Here’s what others have to say about courage:
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” (Dorothy Bernard)
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.” (Mark Twain)
“In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” (Mark Twain)
“Courage is reckoned the greatest of all virtues; because unless a man has that virtue, he has no security for preserving any other.” (Samuel Johnson)
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” (Winston Churchill)
“Courage is being afraid, but going on anyhow.” (Dan Rather)
“Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared.” (Eddie Rickenbacker)
“The courage of life is often a less dramatic spectacle than the courage of a final moment; but it is no less a magnificent mixture of triumph and tragedy.” (John F. Kennedy)
“For without belittling the courage with which men have died, we should not forget those acts of courage with which men have lived.” (John F. Kennedy)
“One man with courage makes a majority.” (Andrew Jackson, also attributed to Thomas Jefferson)
“Courage is being scared to death ... and saddling up anyway.” (John Wayne)
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” (G.K. Chesterton)
“Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.” (Arthur Kest-ler)
“Courage is a kind of salvation.” (Plato)
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (Nelson Mandela)
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” (Aristotle)
To all veterans:
Thank you for your service. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for the example you have set for the rest of us. Enjoy Veterans Day on Monday in the sure knowledge that you deserve it.