Courage, cowardice in today#039;s society

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

As I stood in the smothering heat last Sunday morning to watch the 1st Battalion of the 117th Field Artillery Unit of the Alabama National Guard Unit leave, I tried not to look too closely into the faces of those around me.

I know there were mothers, fathers, wives, girlfriends, brothers, sisters and best friends who were wiping away tears and unsteadily waving goodbye to someone who is extremely precious to them. That thought alone caused me to have to wipe my cheeks.

Being called to military duty is an honor in my eyes, even though I could never say that I have had to walk in their shoes. My undying gratitude, pride and love is all that I have to offer those who serve my country, and I feel that that is very poor and lacking when it comes to thanking them for their services.

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It is only human nature to be afraid, to fear the unknown. But, to face that unknown requires a courage that can only come from within. I see that courage not only in our troops but in everyday life as well.

I see courage in a mother who stands on her feet working all day, then comes home to cook a full meal each and every day.

I see courage in the widower who does not remarry because his main focus is on rearing his children.

I see courage in the father who goes to work every day to provide for his family, even when he is sick.

I see courage in the quadriplegic who graduates from college because she wants to teach, even though she received a huge insurance settlement.

I see courage in the daughter who patiently and lovingly cares for her aging parent after she has worked all day.

I see courage in the father who bypasses a better-paying job in another town because he does not want to live apart from his child.

I see courage in the student who stands up for what she believes in, even when she knows all the other kids are laughing at her.

On the other hand, cowardice abounds in our society.

I see cowardice in the man who refuses to financially support his wife and children.

I see cowardice in the mother who chooses her new boyfriend over her own children.

I see cowardice in the father who will not acknowledge the existence of his own children.

I see cowardice in business people who knowingly attempt to trick customers out of their hard-earned money.

I see cowardice in rude people.

I see cowardice in kids who think they can bully other kids around.

I see cowardice in the parents who support their rude and unappreciative children.

I see cowardice in those who prey on the weak and the elderly.

I see cowardice in those who steal just for the fun of it.

Courage and cowardice.

How did this fissure in our society get so wide?

Regina Grayson is a reporter with the Greenville Advocate.

She can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 126 or via e-mail at