What is Bravery?

Posted on June 8, 2019

Bravery, as far as I am aware, is the absolute willingness to confront, pain, danger, misery and intimidation. ‘Willing’ is the key word with bravery, as it is an act of choice that one can turn away from to avoid humiliation, pain and even death.

I was reading about the D Day landings the other day the word ‘bravery’ came into my head. When the unimaginable barbaric events that unfolded on the beaches of France were happening, who was actually brave?

Getting machine gunned to death the second you step out of a landing craft isn’t brave is it? For thousands of men, there was no time to be brave, although some of those who survived the Nazi onslaught, had to quickly learn how to be.

Most men will be brave when it comes to protecting their family and friends but it is only psychopaths who would ‘willingly’ shoot other men or wade into an onslaught of bullets. Those poor sods on the beaches of France had no choice.

The reason weapons of mass destruction have been developed since the last world war is, at least in part, due to the fact men don’t like killing each other. Research shows that 90% of first shots fired in World War combat were above the head of the enemy. It has been an ongoing problem for military leaders that they haven’t been able to find enough psychopaths.

Ultimately, the barbaric events of D Day paid off and the Allied forces began to turn the tide against tyranny. Had it failed, it is hard to know where we would have been. An occupied nation with loyalist terrorist groups waging a campaign against Nazi rulers perhaps?

The necessary defeat of the Nazis was not glorious. It came at a huge cost to normal, peaceful, humans whose lives were wrecked by the death and maiming of loved ones who did not want to fight and kill their fellow man. Injuries and shell shocked nightmares stayed with men from the age of 18 to this very day.

Their sacrifice led to Europe being liberated and right minded people trying to piece together plans to ensure it never happened again. Painful political peace making, unification of nations, trade agreements and friendships have been built. It’s not been easy but if it can stop a European superpower going rogue again, it has to be worth it.

I wonder what those young men who were slaughtered in a bid to liberate Europe would think of the new rise of populism? Not just here in the UK but in Italy, Hungary, Austria and France. What would those American soldiers think of Trump, or the British of Farage? So called men of the people who would buy themselves out of personal danger at any cost.

Not much, I suspect.

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