01 December 2012
The True Definition of Courage
After reading the poem "Dulce Et Decorum Est" by Wilfred Owen, I realized, based on my own personal combat experiences and the combat experiences of Owen, the only word that could possibly describe the poem was courage. Throughout my time in the military, I have been instructed that courage is one of the fourteen leadership traits. Traits are qualities of thoughts and actions, which, if demonstrated in daily activities, help warriors earn the respect, confidence, and loyal cooperation of fellow warriors. There are two different kinds of courage. Moral courage is having the inner strength to stand up for what is right and to accept blame when something is your fault. The second is physical courage, which means that you can continue to function effectively when there is physical danger present. No matter the specific type of courage, both allow the warrior to remain calm and continue with the mission while recognizing fear, which is precisely what the young infantryman demonstrated in the poem and what Owen, personally demonstrated in combat during World War I.
Growing up in the country as I did, I tend to think I was pretty much the same as other young boys that spent their lives in the country. I went hunting, fishing, watched war movies, listened to stories of World War II and Vietnam from my grandfather and father, ran through the woods while playing war with the neighborhood kids, and had those grand visions of rushing into a hail of enemy gunfire to save the day. Much later in my life, I would come to realize that all of my childhood visions of war were quite far from the truth. Those spectacular feats and the glamour portrayed in war movies only happen in Hollywood. They are also a product of someone’s youthful memories of playing war. Although I...