Monday, September 28, 2009

Commitment to Courage

The Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in 1918 was Sir Douglas Haig. In one of the final offensives launched by the Germans, Haig gave a message to his troops. It stated, "With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause, each one of us must fight on to the end...Every position must be held to the last man. There must be no retirement." It would become one of the most famous directives given in the Great War. A couple of months later, the same tenacity would be shown when U.S. Marines were encouraged to retreat along with the French soldiers at Belleau Wood. Captain Lloyd Williams replied, "Retreat? Hell, we just got here." [Thx to John Keegen & M.E.S. Harries for the stories]

What I love about both stories, is the commitment to courage being displayed. Retreating & retiring were not options. The only option was to stick their ground and fight for what they believed in. In the face of adversity - they chose to keep going. I admire that spirit and desire it for my own life. How many times have I duck & run when adversity and struggles hit? How many times have I allowed fear to dictate my response to situations? If I truly believe in what I am doing - why shouldn't my response be to stand my ground? Too often when my back is against the wall I choose to simply roll over and die. This is probably for a variety of reasons, but the primary one seems to center on my lack of commitment to courage. Until I can learn to overcame that, I - unlike the soldiers under Haig & Williams - will never learn to defeat the obstacles and challenges in my life.