Quoting: Courage Creates Greatness

Courage is the quality of great people. More accurately it is a quality that creates greatness. It is the quality of Abraham who recognized the Creator and was willing to give his life for this awareness.

It is the quality of Moses who approached Pharaoh and told him, “Let my people go.” It is the quality of Mordechai who refused to bow to the wicked Haman; and of Esther who approached King Achashverosh on behalf of her people even though she was risking her life.

Courage is the quality of people throughout the ages who were willing to sacrifice everything to live a Torah life. It is the quality that will elevate and empower you throughout your life.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book, “Courage”

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Quoting: Courageous Progress

Choose to focus on the progress you are making. You have infinitely more courage now than you did when you were born. Since each courageous act makes you a more courageous person, by focusing on progress, you will almost always feel that you are increasing your level of courage.

This perspective will give you the encouragement to continue developing this quality. Even if you feel that you are backsliding, you still have made progress from the place where you were when you started your journey in life.

-from Rabbi Zelig Pliskin’s book, “Courage”

Those Never Forgotten

autumn morning

© wildverbs

The air was finally carrying a chill in the mornings, the first sign of Fall. Nick had always loved the Fall, even as a kid, but today possessed a bitterness along with the cold. He got up early, went through his morning routine, and then opened the hallway closet.

There, like every other morning, was the American flag. He never kept it out at night because there were too many vandals.

He gently ran his dark brown fingers along the fabric. Today, more than any other day, it meant something special. “I miss you Dad.”

Tears were running down his cheeks as he put the flag pole in its holder next to the front door on the outside of his cottage. Seventeen years ago today, his Dad, a New York City Police Officer, was among the first responders after the World Trade Center was destroyed. The 27-year-old Marine veteran saluted the flag, not just for honor of country and the Corps, but for the bravest man he’d ever known who died on this day.

I wrote this for the 182nd FFfAW Challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the image above to craft a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long. My word count is 174.

Today marks the seventeenth anniversary of the heinous terrorist attacks on our country, a time when we remember those who fell, and the courage of the men and women who first responded to the attacks. I felt I should write something appropriate.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Warriors and the Sons of Warriors

the american flag

“People sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” -attributed to George Orwell

His name is Derek Johnson and he’s a disabled, homeless drunk living in an alley that stinks of piss. He’s also a Marine and a Vietnam vet. The three punks thought it was funny, but I sure as hell didn’t. The old man was still passed out when they found him. Drunks most times get rolled for what little they’ve got, which isn’t much, or sometimes a truly sick bastard will pour gasoline on them, and think they’re doing the world a favor by torching a “warmonger” to death.

This time, they only took his prosthetic foot.

I can’t sleep. I can never sleep, well, almost never. When the insomnia monster is clawing at my brain, I walk. Who cares if it’s 2 a.m. or whenever. This time, it was just after dawn. I saw them running out of the alley, laughing like hyenas on coke and carrying something. On a hunch, I looked where they’d been and found him. He was barely conscious and cussing up a storm. I saw the stump where his foot used to be and I saw the words “Semper Fi” tattooed on his forearm. That’s all I needed to know.

“Stay here, brother. I’ll be back.” I touched his shoulder hoping he’d think it was reassuring.

“Stay here? You fuckin’ nuts? I ain’t got no foot. Where the hell would I go?”

I didn’t answer. I just turned away. If I were in his place, I’d probably have said the same thing or worse.

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Review: The Martian vs. The Martian

the martianI know it’s rather late in the day to write this sort of review because both the novel and the film version (Starring Matt Damon) of Andy Weir’s “The Martian” have been available for quite some time.

However, I find them both rather compelling, which is saying something, especially for films. Usually, I’ll see a film I like, maybe a few times, and then put it away for a while. However, I feel as if I could read the novel and watch the movie repeatedly, with the tale of Mark Watney remaining as fresh as ever.

For those few of you who are unfamiliar with the book and the movie, they describe the struggles of Astronaut Mark Watney, who is presumed dead, killed in a sandstorm, and left alone on Mars.

To say that author Andy Weir has a background in science is faint praise. The guy solves problems in orbital mechanics as a hobby. Although he admits that he probably couldn’t survive on Mars like his creation Watney, his mind and imagination creates an all-too realistic set of events that challenge Mark’s ability to survive each and every day in an environment totally hostile to life.

I won’t go into the plot. For that, I encourage you to read the book and watch the film. As with most books turned into movies, the novel contains far more detailed information. I’ve read some of the Amazon reviews, and a few folks believe there are too many details.

To me, it’s a survival manual and an adventure tale rolled into one, with a side of stand-up comedy.

For scientific accuracy, I’d choose the novel. The climax of the story is handled, in my opinion, a bit more realistically in the book than how the movie depicts our hero’s rescue. On the other hand, the book ends with Watney aboard a spaceship headed for home. End of story. In the movie, we see what happens next.

(Spoiler alert).

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