A Split-Second Decision

By | June 23, 2021

[June 23, 2021]  Sometimes, life gives us a chance to measure our worth.  And, once in a while, we are called upon to make a split-second decision to do the right thing, defining which way our life will go.

Life doesn’t come with a script.

These are decisions that define us and show others who we are.  I’m a baseball fan, and I vividly remember the day one of the greatest plays in baseball occurred.  It was April 25, 1976, on a warm afternoon in Dodger Stadium.  Center Fielder Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs grabbed the American Flag from a man and his son as they were attempting to burn it in the middle of the playing field.

It is an outstanding display of American Patriotism.

A modest man, Monday, notes that “I don’t know anyone who would not have done the same thing.”  After a popout fly, Rick Monday saw the two “protesters” attempting to light the flag.  He dashed over and grabbed the flag to thunderous cheers.  Rick Monday spent 19 seasons in Major League Baseball but is known chiefly for his split-second decision to save the American Flag.  As he tells it, if saving the American flag is all that he is known for, then it’s not such a bad thing.

201 years earlier, another split-second decision.

 In the gray dawn hours of April 19, 1775, at Lexington, Massachusetts, colonial minutemen assembled, expecting to meet British troops headed their way.  Minuteman Captain, Jonas Parker, commanded his men not to fire upon the British unless fired upon.  A British officer ordered the colonials to disperse and fired his pistol.  The minutemen returned shots from their position and set a hasty retreat.  Parker was heard often to say that he would never run from the enemy.  He was good at his word and stood his ground.  Having loaded his musket, he fired his musket but was also hit by a British ball.  Sinking to his knees, he readied his next musket charge.  As he did so, Parker was transfixed by a British bayonet and died on the spot where he first stood.

“Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.  No sane man.  They save us all.” – Iraqi Policeman

On April 22, 2008, two U.S. Marines were assigned to watch together at the entrance of an outpost in Ramadi, Iraq.  The outpost contained the makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines and 100 Iraqi police.  Ramadi, at the time, was the most dangerous city on earth and owned by the terrorist group Al Qaeda.  A few minutes after they were on duty, a large suicide truck turned down the alleyway and sped its way through the outpost’s protective barriers.  It took six seconds for the two Marines to take aim and open fire. The Iraqis ran.  The Marines stood; they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. Then, within only a few feet of the Marines, the truck exploded with over 2,000 pounds of explosives, killing them both instantly and saving those in the outpost.

Sometimes we are defined by split-second decisions. 

And that is, as it should be.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “A Split-Second Decision

  1. Susan Altermann

    We all make those split second decisions. And ,as well, we have to live with the consequences.

    1. Guns are Us

      Hi RED. Good to see that you also miss Gen. Satterfield. We all wish you would write another article for us.

    2. Bryan Z. Lee

      Sadako Red, I am a huge huge fan of yours. Like Guns wrote, please write more articles. They are the best!!!

  2. rjsmithers

    The Lexington story is great. Of course, we are taught that there is controversy on where the first “shot heard around the world” occured first. Lexington or Concord. Regardless, it was important to all of us today.

  3. Plato

    I truly love this website on leadership but it is the stories that matter to me the most and are the most attractive. Great website, keep up the great works. I’ve truly missed my daily dose of leadership, bravery in action, and reading about those making a difference.

  4. Purse 5

    Welcome back, Gen. Satterfield, We all missed your articles. Maybe someday you could write about your family as well.

  5. Wendy Holmes

    On April 25, 1976, Cubs outfielder Rick Monday made the play of the game. And it was for something that doesn’t show up in the box score. That afternoon, the Cubs were playing the Dodgers in Los Angeles. In the fourth inning, two people, a father and his 11-year old son, ran onto the field, put the American flag on the ground in shallow left-center, and doused it in lighter fluid. Their first attempt to start a fire was blown out by the wind. They tried again, but before the flag could catch on fire, Rick Monday, who was playing center field, swooped in and took the flag away from the protesters.

    1. Audrey

      More than just the play of the game, the play of the century for baseball.

    1. Eric Coda

      It’s a nearly inconceivable story of valor and sacrifice, and it was never told better than by USMC Lieutenant General John Kelly back in 2010, at a Marine ceremony in St. Louis, just four days after he lost his own son to combat in Afghanistan.

      1. José Luis Rodriguez

        Yes, and this story needs telling over and over to others so that they can appreciate what it takes to stand in the face of evil and not waver. So many of us would have such courage.

    2. Rev. Michael Cain

      A story that all young men and women should know. It shows what a real hero is about. The SNOWFLAKES in colleges around our nation should have this read to them – they can’t really read well – and told to them by a young Marine. Maybe then they will wake up and realize that they perpetuate evil.

  6. JT Patterson

    Just popped onto your website hoping to find a new article and bingo, here it is. Thanks. I sure missed your articles. Of course, all of us understand that when family comes to town, you gotta do what you gotta do to be with them. I sure hope you captured some of them on camera for the future. You can show those kids that you were there to be with them. That counts more than anything else.

    1. Kenny Foster

      Yeah, great to have Gen. Satterfield back and writing on a relevant subject.

  7. Harry Donner

    Yep, welcome back. Oh, I especially enjoyed today’s article. All I can say is great job.

  8. Forrest Gump

    Wow, great article. Welcome back, Gen. Satterfield.

    1. Gil Johnson

      Yeah, we had to put up with some other, less well-designed and less logical websites. Hey we hope you had a great time with your kids. Good to have you back in the saddle with us. 😊


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