There are many quotes on the difference
between courage and bravery: being brave
is an absence of fear, courage is doing
what needs to be done despite your fear.
There were boys bobbing in little metal cans, listening
to the explosions of shells somewhere in front
of them — their destination — and the ping of bullets
against the sides, knowing the door would drop soon.
Fear was rampant in those troop boats, but there
was courage enough, enough to brave the hail of fire
that met them as they hit the water and fought to take
the beach. Most of the first two waves died in the sea.
Those making it onto the sand — uniforms heavy with the weight
of waves of blood — faced a nightmare none then could
imagine and none today can comprehend, advancing into
fierce resistance, advancing inch by inch and life by life.
Heroes were made that day, along with widows and mourning
parents. Victory is what we remember, courage we celebrate,
names and faces remembered only by those who walk among
the white stones to decorate a resting place far from their home.
There was courage aplenty on those French beaches so long ago,
a focus on a common enemy and a justifiable cause. Boys became
men as they fought and watched friends die, witnesses to horrors
they would never reveal and memories they would never betray.
We still revere the courage of the warrior, and praise the value
of their sacrifices, but can find no agreement on their mission.
The speeches of politicians do little to honor the dead, their
very presence an affront to those who gave all for a cause.
We are a shattered people, with divergent views of right, just,
and evil. I shudder at the thought of what terror must be wrought
before a common enemy will again be identified. I fear for a world
where our leaders have neither the bravery nor courage to lead men to war.