A post by Smash re-posted, and for good reason. It brought a tear to my eye and filled me with pride. Enjoy.
I wrote the following, on February 22, 2003, as a sort of pep-talk for myself.
I'm not a hero.
That is to say, I don't think of myself that way. I don't seek out danger. I'm not the type of guy who is always looking for the next adrenaline rush, or the latest thrill sport. I generally avoid dangerous activities.
I'm not a coward, either.
I'm not fearless. I realize, every day that I am here, that my life is in danger.
There is no way to avoid this conclusion. I'm told to wear body armor and a helmet. I carry a weapon. We build fortifications. I lug a pack full of chemical protection gear everywhere I go. I've received so many shots, I feel like a pincushion. Sometimes, when I have a moment or two to think about it, I feel a little bit scared. Frankly, only an idiot would not be afraid under these circumstances.
But I do have courage.
Courage is not the absence of fear. To the contrary, courage involves recognizing danger, but acting on the realization that danger must be confronted -- or it will find you when you are least prepared.
I didn't come here looking for a thrill.
I'm here because there is a hole in the ground in New York, where a couple of the world's tallest buildings used to be.
I'm here because I knew some of those people in the Pentagon.
I'm here because my seven-year-old nephew has nightmares about terrorists.
I'm here because whether Saddam is responsible or not for those terrorist attacks, he has the will and is developing the means to do much, much worse.
I'm here because if History teaches us anything, it is that evil men cannot be deterred by sanctions, containment strategies, diplomacy, resolutions, or weapons inspections.
I'm here because I don't believe in appeasement.
I'm here because someone has to be.
I'm here because I was called.
I'm here because I have a job to do.
This got a lot of positive feedback. One high-school girl later wrote to tell me that she had memorized and recited it as part of a public speaking contest, and had earned a standing ovation.
Here here brother.