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Memories: On Being Brave…

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“The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”  Thucydides

Memories: On Being Brave... New York's Bravest and Finest serve with zeal...

“Firemen are going to get killed. When they join the department they face that fact. When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work. They were not thinking of getting killed when they went where death lurked. They went there to put the fire out, and got killed. Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.” Chief Edward F. Croker

What does being brave mean to you? A few weeks before 9/11 changed our lives, I was driving in Manhattan, and as I turned a corner unto one of the Avenues, I saw a couple of firetrucks parked on the right side of the street and several firemen, laden with heavy equipment, stood in front of a building, looking up and having a heated discussion on what they were about to do. They looked concerned, there was tension in the air, maybe a trace of fear on their faces, but they were not going to back down… more below

“There is no such thing as bravery; only degrees of fear.” John Wainwright

Memories: On Being Brave... Bravery is not the absence of fear...

Courage is not the absence of fear but the judgment that something else is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all. For now you are traveling the road between who you think you are and who you can be.” Meg Cabot

When have you been most brave?  Those firefighters were going to step right up and enter that building and face whatever was lurking, waiting, eager to do battle with them. I felt such admiration, pride and awe for those men. New York’s bravest honoring their job. Bravery is not the absence of fear but the courage to face the fear. A few weeks later, I suspect some, if not all, of those men lost their lives. The 9/11 numbers tell a dismal tale. My regret is that I didn’t listen to the prompting in my heart that day… It was a voice that said, “Pull over, stick your head out, and tell those men they make you proud to be human and a New Yorker.” The same goes for New York’s finest who serve with similar zeal. More below.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.” Mary Tyler Moore

Memories: On Being Brave... Bravery takes courage to face the fear...

“When their adventures do not succeed, however, they run away; but it was the mark of a brave man to face things that are, and seem, terrible for a man, because it is noble to do so and disgraceful not to do so.” Aristotle

What memories of bravery come to mind?  I have written about my own experience with flying fear, how I overcame it, and how I actually prefer flying to roadtrips. Recently, flying in extreme turbulence and having the pilot inform us, after the plane pitched and dropped a few thousand miles twice, to sit strapped to our seats till we landed in New York, I was reminded that bravery requires a measure of faith and surrender to our prayers for a positive outcome. Paul, a military chaplain on his way home from his base in Germany, sat next to me on the flight. Before the plane took off, he asked if he could pray with me and I happily obliged. The plane took off, I settled down and soon fell asleep.

My next memory was of being woken up by the most frightening jolt and tilt as the plane suddenly hit an air pocket out of nowhere. It was a perfect, clear and sunny day. Paul, God bless him, held my hand as we prayed fervently… both of us acutely aware that the final outcome was not in our hands.  He was brave.  Bravery is not the absence of fear… I was afraid but had to trust that we would make it. We did, Thank God, and I look forward to my next flight… We have to face the fear; especially if we love travel and flying which I actually do. What about you? What are your thoughts? What does being brave mean to you? Have you had a scary  life or travel incident? What memories of bravery come to mind? Do share! Thank you. 😉

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Where do you go to be brave? Is it your home? The gym? Your journal? Where is the place you are bravest? When are the times you are the most brave?

Positive Motivation Tip: Bravery can come suddenly or incrementally and fear is part of the road to bravery. Embrace it.

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos  FDNY at WTC, Firefighter in Smoke, via Wikipedia. Or Take Courage by Skyler via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

18 Comments leave one →
  1. 13/12/2011 10:24 pm

    The brave may not live forever
    but the cautious do not live at all.

  2. 14/12/2011 1:17 am

    I have always told my boys that being brave is not what we do, but how we face what we have to do when we don’t want to do it.

    An excellent post, Eliz.

  3. 14/12/2011 6:20 am

    Great post, Eliz. I was once on a “puddle jumper” between Pittsburgh and a tiny PA town. I was the only passenger on the plane. It was night and we were flying through a turbulent thunderstorm.(Those tiny prop planes bump enough without bad weather). I was scared, but when it comes to flying, I usuallly relax. I cannot pilot a plane, so I know its always out of my hands.

  4. 14/12/2011 8:03 am

    I was in car accident when I was in Australia, by then, I didn’t dare to drive anymore 🙂
    But I know I have to move on, so I tried again.

    Thank you for this post, Eliz

  5. 14/12/2011 9:14 am

    Facing my own inner demons from childhood took more courage than I ever thought I had… that and a lot of help from a Higher Power. “When the pain to stay the same exceeds the pain to change, you change.”

  6. 14/12/2011 9:20 am

    I have, over time, relaxed about flying. After my car accident in 2000, which flipped me in the air and dropped me on the median, to walk away with bruising and a broken arm is pretty miraculous. The EMT on the scene was a tough cookie and when I expressed fear of being taken in a helicopter she said, “HOney if you were going to die today you’d be dead now!” Totally made sense and re-affirmed my belief that we really have no control over when we’re leaving this earth.

  7. 14/12/2011 1:08 pm

    Great post! I love the quote by Meg Cabot. You’ve inspired me to be a little more courageous today. Thank you.

  8. 14/12/2011 1:24 pm

    It seems so silly in light of the examples of firemen, but proceeding with my mock trial despite the horrible memories that made me want to retreat. That was when I understood that bravery had to do not with not fearing, but with fearing and proceeding ahead nevertheless.

  9. 14/12/2011 1:41 pm

    I like this: bravery is not fear it’s the courage to face fear. I also like was frizztext states. Thanks, Liz.

    • 15/12/2011 3:08 am

      Yes, we are all afraid of something, and our bravery comes from getting on with it. TY! 🙂

  10. 14/12/2011 6:48 pm

    There have been at least one time when my actions were described as brave but at the time, I didn’t think they were. I was just doing what I needed to do to survive.

  11. 14/12/2011 10:32 pm

    I have a tremendous fear of flying…your experience on the plane sounded really frightening, but I am sure God put you together with seat-mate Paul. Amazingly thoughtful post! Debra

  12. 15/12/2011 6:34 am

    Stage fright comes to my mind now that you mentioned facing our fears. No matter how much you rehearse and know your lines and character, those jittery thoughts always flood the mind backstage attempting to push you down with nasty words like, “Bet you will forget your lines out there!”
    It helps to close your eyes and deep breathe at that point.
    Glad you had Paul to hold your hands . . . always a comfort.
    Thank you! 🙂

  13. 15/12/2011 9:03 am

    Wow! This post really inspired me today about being brave. Thanks for sharing your story (=

  14. Bree permalink
    15/12/2011 9:14 am

    God is never asleep. Amazing serendipity that a military chaplain sat next to you on that flight. Even when we conquer a fear, there is residual memories and facing them again and again helps.
    Great post. New York’s Bravest has NO competition in that dept!

  15. 15/12/2011 5:27 pm

    I love and admire the fire department guys — tears… I think I was the bravest when I was in the childbirth bed — man, labor hurts like hell but you just have to go with it because of the reward at the end of the tunnel — those sweet babies…

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