Bravery. The act of being brave. But what is this? What does it mean? Is it the same as courage? Or fearlessness?
Bravery and courage are similar.....the act of moving forward in spite of fear. Many people are brave. Soldiers immediately come to mind, we are trained to run towards danger, rather than away from it. But public servants-our firefighters and cops-can be considered brave as well. Bravery is being willing to place yourself between others and danger. Or being able to face danger yourself, on the behalf of others. Or even just for yourself.
The men of the Irish Brigade were brave when they charged and died at Fredrickburg. Those men cried Erin go braugh as they swept up the blood-soaked slopes of Mary's Heights, died nearly to a man, gained immortal glory, and gave this country notice that the Irish were just as much a part of this country as anyone else.
The men immortalized in Black Hawk Down were certainly brave. As were the men and women of color who said enough is enough, and demanded equal treatment. Our soldiers are brave. As are our police and firefighters.
But what is this thing we call bravery?
Bravery is an addict, waking up and saying enough. Or an alcoholic saying "no".
Bravery is getting the diagnosis and understanding that you will soon be alone, because your best friend is going to die, but still trying-somehow-to continue on. Bravery is holding her hand and lying, telling her that everything will be OK.....even when you both know it won't.
Bravery is looking into the darkness and finding a reason to go on, when all you really want to do is send her off with the biggest honor guard Death, and Time, have ever seen, when you would willingly burn the world and everyone on it, so that the smoke would carry her to heaven, when you would storm the very gates of Heaven itself and demand a reason.
Bravery is understanding that, sometimes, you cannot win.....regardless of how many you can kill.
Bravery is a young women who has made the most difficult decision imaginable, to die with dignity and end her own life because of brain cancer, and not listen to the idiots who will wake up the next day still alive and spouting their misguided monotheistic morality bullshit.
Bravery is being crushed by life, and still looking it in the eye and saying "fuck you, bring it on. Beat me if you can, but I AM getting back up." It is quietly saying "No. I will not submit. Beat me if you can. kill me if you must. But break me? NEVER!"
Bravery is looking the monster right in the eye and saying that it's time has passed, And then accepting responsibility for the actions you caused.