- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

As a value, courage has been touted by everyone from the philosopher Aristotle in ancient days to education reformer William Bennett in recent years.
"True courage," wrote humorist Mark Twain, "is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear."
The Bible also repeatedly speaks to the issue and to the importance of inner might in the face of hardship.
"Be strong and of good courage. Do not fear nor be afraid of them for the Lord Your God. He is the one who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you," reads Deuteronomy 31:6.
Now, as the nation weathers a battle blow on its own soil and steels itself for a lengthy conflict, a new generation one spared unlike others before it from the unnerving uncertainties of war must embrace the virtue of being brave and staying strong.
Earl Tilford, a professor of history at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, expects the campus dialogue on courage to ratchet up as the United States wages a fight against terrorism, "particularly in this kind of war, where the enemy can and will strike us at home.
"We're going to have to get back to the kind of courage that the British had in the Second World War when the Germans were bombing their city," said Mr. Tilford, a 21-year Air Force veteran who served as director of research at the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Penn.
Lessons on courage are not easily learned, particularly for college students, said Mr. Tilford, the author of three books on Vietnam. For most of them, inner fortitude has been shaped at a young age by parents, schools, churches and synagogues.
"I don't think you can say, here's how to be courageous," he said. "It's not a value system as much as it is a virtue system. When you start talking about courage, you start talking about deeply held convictions. In warfare, moral courage is as important as physical courage."
Courage can best be taught by example, said James MacGregor Burns, a professor at the University of Richmond's Jepson School of Management who wrote a biography of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The old adage "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" is apt, he said, and there are lessons to be learned from history.
John F. Kennedy showed courage as the boat captain of PT-109, leading the crew of his vessel to safety in the Pacific. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King exhibited his own style of courage as he pushed hard for reform in a nation long divided, Mr. Burns said. Abraham Lincoln also exhibited determination to follow his inner compass, staying the course of emancipation despite a series of failures.
"A lot of it at the leadership level or the political level is the willingness to support unpopular causes, the courage to take moral leadership when everybody else is not doing that," Mr. Burns said. "I think it is less possible to find strong examples of that today.
"I do think that protracted conflict where there are not big, obvious successes is a real test of courage and commitment," Mr. Burns said. "I think there are people [who could rise to the occasion], but I don't see them at this moment."
Jeffrey Whitman, an associate professor of philosophy at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa., said Aristotle taught that everyone has the disposition to be courageous. Aristotle defined courage as the balance between being overly rash and a coward.
However, said Mr. Whitman, courage cannot be taught through education as much as it can be learned through training.
"I think what our kids can learn and what we can learn as a nation is not as much about courage but about perseverance," said Mr. Whitman, a former professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
While soldiers will be brave on the battlefield, Mr. Whitman said, the rest of us can set our own example by remaining strong as our nation fights for its freedoms. "A lot of everyday courage," he said, "is just being willing to persevere."

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