“AHHH it hurts, it hurts” still burns in my ears something a good friend, someon’s son, someone’s husband, and someone’s father said over the radio. He didn’t mean to say over the radio but it was broke and it sent a message that will forever chill my blood to a freeze. I remember running from my truck, knowing I was fully exposed for a clean shot, but at that point it was a big fuck it on my list of things I was worried about. I made to the truck and saw a kid, 19 years old being pulled out of the humvee gritting his teeth and taking the pain a hell of alot better than I think I would have. Everyone worked quickly together and we were out of there in no time. Off to get them to a hospital. You might think to yourself wow, that was pretty brave….but what I did was nothing compared to what every man out there did…. there is no feeling like the worry that consumes you when a friend a brother or sister is hit, its a courage bordering on self destructive and it is the greatest gift a soldier can get.“Courage is being the only one that knows you are terrified”
Words that echo in my head everytime something rough happens out here. When I say rough for most of you civi’s thats something beyond your imaginations capability of thinking about. Typically a truck full of your closest friends is on fire and a kid you consider a younger brother is prolly bleeding, and for me most of the time I have already convinced myself that it is my fault, because I ran lead truck most of the time and I was supposed to spot the IED’s.
So I would bail out of my truck and run, full gear and weapon a 100lbs of stuff all that shit felt like nothing, because I am terrified…. not for myself but terrified for the kid thats back there clenching his teeth doing his best to be tough for the team even though he has a chunk of smoldering metal in him or a leg is gone or he is bleeding profusely… but still he doesn’t want to freak us out so he clenches his teeth and grabs for a hand to squeeze, terrified that its my fault.
When I was 17 I thought courage was running under gun fire and taking it to the enemy. When I was 19 after afghanistan I thought courage was going back into harm’s way again At 21 courage is all about how far are you willing to go to save another life. When everything is going to shit and bullets and rockets, blood and guts are flying all around, in that moment can you honestly say that man or woman is more important than my miserable life and I will risk everything to give them a chance at making it.
There is a saying from WW2, “When uncommon valor was a common value” it applies today as much as it did then. The men and women in uniform today are among the strongest warriors ever to grace this planet. But they are made of kids for the most part. Brave, self-less kids, they don’t always show it and some you would never guess they had it in them but they will leave you with your jaw on the floor when it really counts. Its an honor to even be counted in the ranks.
But the ranks are only one place where the military and patriotic courage comes from. There are thousands of people that are members of the silent ranks. The wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters and friends, that worry constantly as their loved one is out here doing what I have mentioned above. They to me have the hardest job of all, waitng … praying before every telephone call from an unknown number, fearing everytime someone knocks at the door… cause maybe it might be the military messenger coming to tell them that their hero fell. And not to worry that that soldier will surely find his way to heaven cause he has done his time in hell.
So for those of you civi’s that knew nothing of this struggle that goes on behind CNN, I hope it was informational and some what inspirational. For those in uniform, keep kicking ass keep your head down and never let your brothers down, for those in the silent ranks, keep doing what you do without you all the muscle in the military doesn’t matter because you have our heart. One last thought, Courage comes in many forms but only as many as there are forms of love. Unconditional love (towards like your kids), agape, love your significant other, eros but most of the time courage between soldiers comes from phileo, brotherly love… but all types of love can inspire deep courage.