Home of the Brave (Not So Much Anymore)

by Reid Fitzsimons

Back in high school in the mid-1970s there was a student missing a leg. I didn’t know him as he came from a different feeder school, but the word was he had bone cancer. He didn’t seem to be at school much, but I vividly recall the occasional time he was in gym class and played soccer with vigor, running around on his crutches and using them to kick the ball. People at that age tend to be self involved, but I remember somewhere in my thoughts that this was a brave guy. I’m fairly sure he died well before graduation.

An example of a truly courageous person

Growing up in the post-WW2era just about every time and cultural reference pertained to The War: What did your father do in The War? Where were you when The War ended? Back during The War… Even from a young age, I knew that a lot of people did some very courageous things, and a lot of them died doing so. Perhaps because of the era in which I was raised, throughout my life I’ve pondered the meaning of courage and bravery, and asked if I have it in me. I’ve come to conclusions of the former but, at 65, I have to admit “I don’t know” about the latter. I’ve done a handful of things that might be confused with a low-level degree of courage, but certainly nothing like throwing myself on the grenade to save the other guys in the platoon. The only scenario in life I am certain I would have passed that test would have been as a father, to save my son.

3 thoughts on “Home of the Brave (Not So Much Anymore)

  1. Carole Ann Milljour

    Good article, Reid. I love your statement at the end. That said a lot!!!

    My dad served in WWII as a medic. The only thing he ever told me about the war was when he and a friend of his were walking and all of a sudden, his friend's arm was blown off. He never talked about the war other than that, but he always told me to never feel sorry for myself, because there was always someone worse off than me.

    I can't imagine being in a war let alone serving in one. The thought is frightening. So much devastation and heart ache.

    I certainly don't envy any of our border patrol agents right now, or police for that matter. What a mess. So many terrifying moments for a great many. ...and we have no idea what is coming through and into our once great nation. Not that it isn't great still, but we could certainly use a lot of improvement from what's been going on the last three years most particularly.

    I always felt that nothing stays bad forever, and I do still feel that way; and I am still optimistic that we can turn this ugliness around and learn from it. The sad thing though is our youth. They are being brain-washed, aborted, some don't have a decent home life, especially considering that people my age are being canvassed as prospective foster parents. I would consider it, but I don't think I'm that brave to take on someone else's child whose got God knows what encased in his/her fragile mind. So sad though for so many of our youth; and now even sex trafficked along with dying from the fentanyl being manufactured and passed on as candy. I always thought of Obama as being the pied piper. Maybe I wasn't so far off on that one. In a lot of ways, he has led our youth down a path of destruction with especially what's going on even in our schools.

    As far as courageous individuals are concerned, I'm certain there are many, however, I noticed an idiotic commercial on TV recently which was advertising a woman's body wash and how the men were trying to secure it for their own use. Pretty sad! Anything to sell something! How many men use or even care about their wife's body wash?! Now I ask you? This type of man does not portray a fearless protector, does it?

    I guess bravery comes into play when you have no alternative. You either get up and do it to save your butt or someone else's', or you fall back in fear and more than likely end up hurt or dead. I don't know what I would do, but I do believe I would try at least to put up a fight!

    The world has certainly changed a lot since WWII and not for the better from what's going on right now. A great many individuals have their priorities all mixed up I'm afraid. The future has yet to be seen. I know when I was young, I was naive and just plain stupid in a lot of ways. People do grow up because they don't have much choice. I suppose it is either that or face some serious consequences!

    One other thing I remember my dad telling me was: "Just because someone jumps off a bridge, doesn't mean you have to." God, I wish I had paid more attention to that man when I was young and foolish! It seems more now than ever that there are too many sheep and not enough leaders, good leaders. I remember one time though when I came across two teenage boys on bikes and one of them took his bike and rode it down a set of stairs while the other kid watched. Well, the guy that went down the stairs told his friend to follow his lead, but he didn't seem to like that idea. So, I told him, you don't have to do it just because he did, you could fall off your bike and break your arm or leg and that would mess up your whole summer. Well, he didn't go, and I guess what I said helped him get up enough courage to not worry about what his friend thought. I have to say, that I was always proud of my dad and at that moment thought to myself, he's still teaching some young kid something even if it was through me who said it.
    God Bless America, land of the free because of the brave!

  2. Alfred Finocchiaro

    Yes, I wish I would have listened to my father more in my "know it all" years. So many words of wisdom he imparted on me and how true time proved his words to be. How much pain and suffering I would have saved myself had I listened. Like most kids, we want to find out for ourselves what this life means. Sometimes this takes us down paths that are just one way. Its a shame that we realize the wrong turn way to late. Some of us spend the rest of our lives fighting our way back trying to make amends. Others are lost on their path and try to make the rest of us pay for their poor decisions. Nothing brave about that!

  3. Carl Butler

    One of the most sublime but powerful tools in cultural change is the dissipation of meaningful words and concepts, and you hit it right on the head with the term 'bravery.'. My father earned a Purple Heart on Iwo Jima and hardly a week goes by that I wish I could pick up the phone and get wise counsel, a concept that eluded me for far too long. I also worked for a man who rode a tank in the Battle of the Bulge, he became the tank commander when his superior officer was killed when peeking out of the turret. My boss had to shove his fallen comrade out of the turret and become the commander on the spot. He guided the tank through to the end of the battle and I believe he also earned a Purple Heart as well.
    My point is that an untested generation knows little of the true of sacrifice and bravery and will never know whether they possess either unless or until they are presented with a literal 'do or die' physical threat.
    I've seen some of the same tictoc idiots you have seen, young men trying to convince me that their sexual confusion is somehow grounds for social martyrdom. Frankly, my internal response is to want to grab them by the throat and slap them silly until they come to their senses. I know that is emphatically not a Christian response but how can a man come to Christ if he cannot come to grips with who he is, legitimately and biologically?
    I honestly confess that my life made little sense and offered little hope until I came home to the One who loved me and gave Himself for me.


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