How would you like to have been a prisoner of war in 1970's Vietnam for 2100 days?
Tomorrow, I am interviewing such a man - his name is Capt. Charlie Plumb. While doing my research on his story, I came across a video interview clip of him and 2 other brave men who were also POW's in Vietnam. One of them, Capt. Guy Gruters said something profound that I wanted to share as the subject of today's Warrior Wednesday Blog. During the ABC interview with Diane Sawyer, Capt. Gruters was asked what courage was. This was his simple but brilliant response:
"Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
Wow. What a profound statement that could only be spoken by a true warrior who has had to endure and overcome incredible adversity.
For the past 2.5 years, I have interviewed over 100 protectors from all walks of life: military, police, survivors of violence, government agents, executive protectors, etc. and I've asked them to discuss what virtues are necessary in order for one to successfully protect.
During that time, I have discovered that putting virtue into words is quite difficult. Few have been able to succinctly state and form the proper words to discuss the virtue required to serve as a protector. This phrase by Capt. Gruters on courage comes close - "Courage is fear that has said its prayers."
What images does your mind picture as you read this phrase? I see a man or woman going through a difficult struggle, taking a moment to kneel down, clasp their hands together in prayer, lifting their head toward heaven as their mouth moves with the words of their prayer and petition, and then rising to their feet to continue to fight. Knowing the fight is not over, knowing the fight could continue indefinitely, and yet facing the struggle anyway and moving forward.
Courage isn't sexy like they show in lots of movies. Courage is getting down on your hands and knees when you're tired, bloody, and weary of the fight, saying your prayers, and continuing to fight despite your weariness, despite your fear, despite your desire for the bad thing to go away.
I have linked the original ABC News interview below with Capt. Charlie Plumb and Capt. Guy Gruters. We are just a few days past Memorial Day and this video will fill you with admiration and appreciation for our warriors & our protectors.
Live in the battleground my friend & may all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace.
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National Speaker, author, blogger, and life-long student of warrior arts and science.