I’ve never served my country unless it was community service after a ridiculously stupid trespassing violation. Dropping dollops of mashed potatoes and gravy on a starving person’s plate wasn’t heroic, and it wasn’t scary. It was just the right thing to do.
My father served in Korea, and although I’ve read parts of books and periodicals about the Korean War, I always wanted to grasp how he felt in battle. Other than suffering through one of the coldest winters in Korea, he gave very few details. However, after being decorated as a war hero, earning the Silver Star, two bronze stars and a Purple Heart, he didn’t deem himself as a hero. He praised those fighting.along his side, who saved his life while dying on behalf of not only him, but our country.
I did ask him a fair question. “Were you ever afraid?” That’s a tough question to ask a man, especially when you want the answer to be “NO.” In my eyes, and in my heart, he was a hero, not just as a Veteran, but as a father and husband. His answer was not what I wanted. “Right down to my socks, buster.”
Even after that response, I still believed he was a hero. I didn’t understand then, and without serving or participating in a war, I can only try to understand now. Courage isn’t about being fearless, it is about taking action even when you’re terrified. Courage is moving forward. when you are afraid and moving on even when you are scared right down to your cold, wet socks.He wouldn’t have been a hero if he wasn’t afraid. Perhaps, when I asked him that simple question, he was afraid to answer it honestly to his youngest son, but he did.
That’s bravery at its finest.