I meant to remind us yesterday that it was the 236th birthday of the Marine Corps, but never got to it. Sorry. My USMC Cpl John doesn't need reminding, of course. He even rides his motorcycle like a Marine should, with pride.
Today is Veterans Day. This Christian Science Monitor
points out that some 41 million Americans have served in the US military since 1775; 23
million of them are still alive, of whom 17 million served during a
conflict. Thank you.
Someone reminded me of this, from G.K. Chesterton, on courage: "Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire
to live taking the form of a readiness to die. 'He that will lose his
life, the same shall save it,' is not a piece of mysticism for saints
and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or
mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book.
This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or
quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he
will risk it on the precipice.
He can only get away from death by continually stepping within
an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way
out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange
carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he
will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for
death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek
his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life
like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has
ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I
certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has
marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero,
showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and
him who dies for the sake of dying." Semper fi.