Theodore Roosevelt On Daring Greatly

Yesterday I was sadly reminded that words are just words. I was reminded freedom is made possible not by words but by deeds, not by men who are simply willing to say but by men who are willing to do and to do at all costs.

These observations were not random, they were an inescapable reality pointed out in a tweet by Erick Brockway. The tweet referenced a post on the loss of 1LT Christopher S. Goeke who died last month in Kandahar City, Afghanistan, along with Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Stout, 34, of Worthville, Ky., and Staff Sgt. Sheldon L. Tate, 27, of Hinesville, Ga.

The post ended with this quote, a quote of mere words, but a quote listed as the favorite of LT Christopher S. Goeke, a doer of deeds:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ~ Teddy Roosevelt

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Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain on the great reward of service

One hundred and forty seven years ago today in a small town in Pennsylvania two great armies parted after three of the bloodiest days this nation has ever known. The two armies were the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. The battle was of course Gettysburg. With casualties between 46,000 and 51,000 there is no doubt that each side had given their “last full measure” for their belief in freedom.

That so many Americans, past and present, have been willing to make such sacrifice should never be forgotten. Nor should these words of freedom:

“In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger. .. This is the great reward of service, to give life’s best for such high stakes that it shall be found again unto life eternal.” ~ Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain