Bravery seems to be a very subject term in modern society. Commonly, we depict bravery to be derived through socially moral acts performed by someone held in a higher stature than ourselves. Caitlyn Jenner has been branded as brave for ‘coming out’ with her true gender, Russell Brand has been branded brave for voicing his own opinion (regardless of how much of a boring sceptical he is) and Cheryl Cole has been called brave for staying strong after being axed from X-Factor. Bravery isn’t bravery anymore, is it?
Bravery used to be a very personal act, or a very patriotic act. It used to be selflessly saving someone’s life despite your own safety, or going to a war blind of the dangers ahead for the love of your countries safety and freedom. Bravery used to be the act of maintaining a crumbling country as a female whilst the men went off to war, and ensuring it thrived like never before. Bravery used to be a walk into a dark room filled with your worst nightmares and smiling at the face of fear.
Nowadays, bravery is nothing. Bravery can be the smallest act as long as you have a crowd to back you. A celebrity in today’s world can walk outside in an odd coloured pair of pants and be branded brave by the media. It could be the most irrelevant thing possible, yet it is still called ‘brave’ because enough people repeat it.
I guess this was inevitable in the world we live within, wherein celebritism is a shrine for so many. The fact that certain outlets can have such influence other people that a simple label as ‘brave’ can be muttered amongst millions so easily pains me to understand. I miss true bravery. Not the boring and bland ‘bravery’ we hear about so often, but of the true bravery. Of the soldiers returning home, injured or uninjured, after defending their country. Of the servicemen that uphold our countries support-beams yet receive no recognition and a pay check that echoes that. Of the true valor and love for each other that led to selfless acts. Bravery is nothing more than a rarity whispered by a few.
Don’t get me wrong, there are truly brave people in this world. There are those that fight unspeakable wars and return changed souls. There are those that face deaths grips to save another from the same grip. And there are those that selflessly contribute so much of themselves to better others. These people are brave, these are the ones that deserve that brand.
The definition of ‘brave’ reads “ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” Yet this is so little of what we see on the media today. Brave needs to be brave again. Brave needs to travel back to 1940 and experience the terrible wars many millions experienced. Brave needs to be on the operating table as a surgeon battles time itself to save another man’s life. Brave needs to revert to true bravery, because what we see so much of today is not bravery.
I hope that one day, a child’s aspiration will finally be “to be brave”, to be a policeman or a fireman or a doctor or a soldier. To aim to save lives or change lives for the better. To leave a beautiful trail upon the earth once they leave, a longevity of contributions that match no other.
I spoke to an anonymous member of the U.S military and he has this to say in response to the question, “What is your view on the bravery of soldiers?”
“The bravery that my brothers and sisters in arms share is quite remarkable. The military provides the necessary training to successfully wage war but bravery comes from within and my fellow soldiers have let their actions demonstrate that.”
He continues with this heartbreaking story
“I’ve met one soldier who intentionally ran into the line of fire to distract the enemy from firing on an evacuation of a wounded soldier. One ‘Medal of Honor’ recipient lost his hand throwing back an enemy grenade, despite being shot through both legs. This action saved the lives of his fellow soldiers. Service-members are willing to lose their lives to save their brothers and that, in my opinion, is true bravery.”
Bring back bravery.
Image courtesy of anonymous military source
-Benjamin John Wareing