Why I’m writing this blog: Inspirational stories of virtue
Inspirational stories of virtue tested in battle:
- Educate readers on little known or forgotten stories from military history.
- Entertain readers who share the love for military history.
- Elevate readers by sharing stories of virtue to inspire us to be better people.
To understand where I’m going with this, perhaps it may be help to start with what inspired me early in life and what brought me to writing stories about military history.
Life lessons of a Warrior
We all make choices daily that determines how we lead our lives in what we value. John T. Corley is an example of a man who took tenacious action to support what he valued. His vigorous performance of duty over a lifetime to defeat fascism and defend freedom led him to be one of the most decorated soldiers in American history. His life offers some lessons that we can apply today.
Before Theodore Roosevelt became a military officer, a Governor or even President he always sought out an active lifestyle. In 1895 he wrote, “A soft, easy life is not worth living, if it impairs the fibre of brain and heart and muscle. We must dare to be great; and we must realize that greatness is the fruit of toil and sacrifice and high courage… For us is the life of action, of strenuous performance of duty; let us live in the harness, striving mightily; let us rather run the risk of wearing out than rusting out.”
John T. Corley was a man who aimed to wear out rather than rust out.
Normandy Invasion “D-Day” June 1944. Troops wade ashore from a LCVP landing craft, off “Omaha” Beach, 6 June 1944 (Photo: U.S. Army)
Moral Courage of Silas Soule
We immediately recognize brave acts of physical courage. They are often well witnessed and touted as a brave act. Sometimes, the strength of moral courage is missed. Moral courage is based on actions taken for moral reasons despite the risk of consequences. Having the moral courage to act, regardless of the consequences, is rare.
It is especially rare when it is not popular to do so. The life of Captain Silas Soule is one of those rare instances of a man having the moral courage to not act when it was not a popular decision amongst his peers.
Retired Captain Martin Gelb was part of the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. Now 98, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his for his actions during WWII on June 25, 2018.
He served in England, France and Germany on missions that included supporting U.S. and British operations during the D-Day invasion and assisting with the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Retired Army Capt. Martin Gelb, 98, holds his Congressional Gold Medal given to him Monday, June 25, 2018, in Derry, New Hampshire. Gelb was honored for his World War II service with the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)
Courtesy of Army Times article
Revolutionary War hero Margaret “Captain Molly” Corbin was long thought to be buried beneath her granite monument at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. The Daughters of the American Revolution moved her remains there in 1926 from an unmarked grave nearby. But it’s now clear they removed the wrong remains.
This 1926 photo provided by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) shows a casket that was exhumed by the DAR on the estate of banker J.P. Morgan in Highland Falls, N.Y., with two women who were DAR researchers, right, and two Army officers to serve as pall bearers. The casket, which was reburied at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, was thought to contain the remains of Revolutionary War hero Margaret “Captain Molly” Corbin who stepped in to fire a cannon after her husband was killed in battle, but high-tech tests on the exhumed remains show they belonged to an unidentified male. (Daughters of the American Revolution via AP)
Bravery in the Spanish-American War is remarkable since so many men were recognized for a war that was so short. Hostilities in the Spanish-American War lasted less than four months before an armistice was signed. The number of patriots that volunteered to serve in the Spanish-American War is notable. The number of men recognized for their courage for such a short duration in U.S. history is astonishing.
Second Lt. Robert R. Keown was piloting his P-38 aircraft to an airfield after a mission in 1944 when it crashed into a mountain in Papua New Guinea. World War II ended without Keown’s family knowing what had happened to him, and the military later declared him dead.
Decades later, a villager found human remains in a swampy area near the mountain. Another resident of the Pacific island snapped a photo of the rusted wreckage of a warplane years after that.
The photos led to the remains of Robert R. Keown located and returned to the U.S. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery June 15, 2018.
See the article in Air Force Times to learn more about Keown how he was found,
How the actions of one man influenced a generation
Have you ever come across something or someone who touched your life in a meaningful way? It might have been a phrase or a word. Perhaps it might be just the way a person lived their life. William E. Adams is one of these people. The way he lived and the actions he took influenced a generation of people.
Character in a Crucible of Conflict
Extreme events call for extreme measures. The root of extreme events is often conflict. Conflict is the crucible of character.
Tacking action during conflict while staying true to one’s self and humanity is leadership through character. It is about looking out for others during extreme events.
Some may be familiar with the name Rick Rescorla. Others may not have ever heard of him, or if they did, they might have forgotten the story. Rick Rescorla demonstrated leadership through character throughout his life in remarkable ways when confronted with conflict.
American heritage is remarkable and incredibly inspiring. The celebration of the traditions and beliefs that society considers essential to its history and culture keeps that heritage alive. America is a country formed by diversity centered around the idea of freedom and opportunity. We are not free unless we are all free. What people are willing to do to preserve that freedom for us is a source of inspiration. The life of Joseph C. Rodriguez represents a tradition of recognizing heroes and the belief in a multi-cultural society. His actions and background is a prime example of American heritage that still inspires today.
The secret to the self-discipline of journaling daily
Personal, first-hand accounts of history’s biggest moments provide a texture to history that humanizes it. A perspective of a leader often helps us understand why decisions were made. It brings context and reveals exquisite details about what was going on in that person’s life as history unfolded. The notes also provide lessons for us in how we may lead our own lives. The self-discipline of John J. Pershing provides a terrific example of a journaling habit.