“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’
But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
“Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” (31 March 1968)
Martin Luther King Jr.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. – Thirteen executives from industries such as national security, telecommunications and an international beverage conglomerate, went through simulated ethics training here at TBS on Jan. 5. The participants came to The Basic School to learn how the Marine Corps teaches ethics in everything they do, using honor, courage, and commitment as the pillars to their foundation of decision making.
Ten years on from the invasion of Afghanistan, America has grown weary of war. President Obama, having realized his long-held target of withdrawing from Iraq, is trying to wind down the war in Afghanistan with the aim of ending American involvement by 2014. As Washington has lost faith in the war effort, so too has the broader public. Skeptical of success and encouraged in their doubts by the political establishment, Americans increasingly want the war, like a tiresome, too-long movie, to end at last. This national resignation is fraught with peril – for America’s counterterrorism objectives, for our strategic allies – but perhaps most of all for the soldiers who did the fighting. The U.S. military has a policy of leaving no man behind. But as the country turns its attention away from the warfront, it risks forgetting the servicemen who fought so valiantly on its behalf, and who have returned home bearing the wars’ indelible marks.
“When you lose both legs, you think you can’t do anything,” said Dan Nevins, an Iraq war veteran with a story to tell. “The wounds last a lifetime.” But seven years after a roadside bomb in Iraq took one leg and eventually the other, Nevins shoots mid-70s golf, climbs mountains and recently won a Fort Worth cutting horse contest.”
Our good friend Tom Esslinger of the Marine Crops Association brought the first rate reporting of Gretel Kovach to the attention of the Character Building Project.
Gretel C. Kovach joined the San Diego Union-Tribune in February 2010 as a military affairs reporter. Her coverage focuses on the Marine Corps, warzone operations, combat casualty care, and the California National Guard. Kovach spent three months out of the last year reporting from the front lines of Afghanistan, embedded with U.S. Marines. She also has reported from Iraq and Ground Zero in New York City during the 9/11 attacks. Gretel’s excellent series reached me yesterday afternoon as I returned from Bethesda Naval Amputee Center after Captain Aloysius Boyle personally introduced me to scores of our wounded warriors and their equally heroic caregivers. Continue reading
From time to time it is our honor to introduce readers of the Character Building Project to leaders of outstanding character. One such leader is Aloysius Boyle, a Captain in the United States Marine Corps. “Ish” is a combat veteran, currently, serving as the Company Commander of Wounded Warrior Battalion at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Captain Boyle has not only not forgotten his fallen buddies but also continues to serve our wounded warriors. He has generously supported my research for Courage in America: Warriors with Character. Here follows his Memorial Day tribute to the sacrifices of our fallen warriors. Continue reading
By Rear Admiral Alton L. Stocks, Director, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
If you asked me early in my medical career how the arts played a role in healing, I might have checked to see if you had a fever.
How times have changed. Over the past 30 years, I have watched our profession evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of our wounded warriors. Some of those who have fought in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan return with challenging health issues such as Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health issues. These health conditions are complex, and not readily treated by traditional medical interventions. Continue reading
At the outset of writing Courage in America, I wish to credit the ten wounded warriors who shared with me their arduous journeys from their traumatic injuries to individual greatness. I also wish to acknowledge Dr. Paul Stoltz and Erik Weihenmayer, not only for having greatly influenced my thinking by there book, The Adversity Advantage but also for their ongoing support to the Character Building Project.
CBSSports.com has teamed up with Wounded Warrior ProjectTM, whose mission is to honor and empower wounded warriors, for a special promotion to support wounded service members. For every view of the latest A GAME OF HONOR webisode at CBSSports.com from Dec. 6 through Dec. 10, CBSSports.com will make a donation to Wounded Warrior Project. Continue reading
It was almost as if it were a sign from God. I woke up one morning deciding to join the military. Academically I was ok, if I would just put in that effort I could have accomplished more than I thought; in school that is. At the ages of 16-18 I was just another young kid running around on the streets with friends. I thought and was almost positive that the time would never come to have to grow up. I chose the paths that lead me to sitting here writing this essay. Continue reading