More on Courage

Continuing my contemplation from several years ago:

My blog of yesterday got me to thinking. If it wasn’t courage that got me through the fall of Saigon, what was it?

Remembering back to those days, the aspect that stands out in my memory is my drive to get all my men and their wives and children out before they got killed. I knew I had to stay to the end. The Ambassador wouldn’t allow me to leave. And although he forbade me from evacuating my people, I did it anyway, under any ruse I could think of.

I was so fixated on their survival I had no energy left to think about my own. I recall momentary thoughts that I might not make it out alive, but somehow that wasn’t important enough to distract me from my self-assigned mission: all my guys and their wives and children were going to escape no matter what it cost.

I don’t claim any credit for that. It was my job. And I don’t see that as courage. It was concentrated attention to my mission.

If the goal is important enough, nothing else matters. Maybe Ike in Last of the Annamese has it right: “Do what you have to do, whatever it takes.”

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