Home of the Brave?
Posted by wordforit on March 12, 2008
The Star-Spangled Banner calls the United States, “the home of the brave.” Past generations were moved by the bravery and self-sacrifice of American soldiers during World War II.
Great generals such as Doolittle, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton have inspired Americans, while their counterparts such as Montgomery and Alexander have inspired America’s British cousins across the sea. Screen heroes like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Charlton Heston, Sylvester Stallone and George C. Scott have roused moviegoers with their portrayals of brave warriors.
Sergeant York in World War I, and Audie Murphy 30 years later in World War II swelled America’s pride at the heroism shown by its native sons, not just the well-known names but also the millions of young Americans and Britons who fought side-by-side in wars during a century bloodier than any previously known to mankind.
The American and British peoples have inherited a history of giants on the battlefields of war and diplomacy. Richard the Lionhearted, Francis Drake, Admiral Nelson, Winston Churchill, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt stirred the imagination and fortified the courage of their peoples in the face of national danger. But who today is rising to the standard of leadership these powerful men set in the past?
Just what is real bravery? Webster’s Dictionary defines “brave” as “courageous, noble, fearless.” We sometimes hear of a brave soldier who advanced toward the enemy, in the face of withering fire, fearlessly braving shot and shell in a heroic effort to rescue a fallen comrade. We may hear of a firefighter or police officer risking life and limb to save a child in danger.
Often the brave are anonymous ordinary citizens who, without thought of their personal safety, may put themselves in harm’s way to rescue an injured motorist or a drowning swimmer. Few of us could rise to such levels of bravery, so we honor those who risk all to serve others unselfishly.
However, there is a bravery born of vanity. Think of the boy who takes a schoolyard beating from a bully rather than be thought a coward by his classmates. Bravery may stem from love of family, love of country and loyalty to ideals and duty-or it may spring from stupidity and ignorance. As the saying goes, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Even so, we recognize as special the sacrifice involved when one brave individual dies so that another might live.
But next to all these acts of individual bravery, one act of self-sacrifice stands as supreme. “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8).
Mankind’s Satan-inspired legacy of dirty, destructive and bloody wars is not glorious; that’s just the stuff of history-book novels and movies. Yet we can see honor in the attitudes of those who died to preserve the lives of others.
Jesus Christ will be able to use that human proclivity during the soon-coming Millennium, when human beings will learn the truth of God. “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you” (John 15:12-14). Under Christ’s command, the time is soon coming when the bravest Man of all will reign over a world where moral bravery is the rule, not the exception.
To learn more about Jesus Christ’s prophesied return, and why we know it is coming soon, please read our informative free booklet, Fourteen Signs Announcing Christ’s Return. Bravery will be needed to face world events, in the years just ahead of us.