[October 12, 2020] Shortly after the terror attacks on U.S. soil, September 11, 2001, I was sitting on an Army bus when I overhead two buck Sergeants talking. The red-headed Sergeant said that he had wished he was on one of the commercial jets that had crashed into the World Trade Center a few days earlier. He believed that he could have made a difference and helped save those doomed passengers. He believed that by charging into danger, you could overcome any obstacle.
My first thought was that he was exaggerating. No one would wish to be on a doomed airliner, but he clearly said he wishes he could have been there. As the conversation progressed, I got a better understanding of his thinking. He told his friend that there were a few things the military teaches, and that is never to take a situation for granted, make no assumptions, be bold, and be aggressive if you want to succeed. For example, during an ambush, the best tactic is to charge directly into the heart of the ambush. History shows that aggressive tactics win most encounters.
That got me to thinking about the history of battles I had read about while a young soldier. Many are aware of the exploits of Union Colonel Joshua Chamberlain during the Battle of Gettysburg (1863) in the U.S. Civil War. Outnumbered two to one and running low on ammunition, he ordered his men to fix bayonets and charge down from the hill of Little Round Top. It worked; he won the skirmish.
Another famous example is the Charge of the Light Brigade. During the Crimean War at the Battle of Balaclava (1854), a tiny British light cavalry force was ordered to charge into an army much larger than theirs with no chance of victory. The force led by Lord Cardigan courageously charged into the center of the Russian army yet succeeded in breaking through and disengaging.
It takes courage and outstanding leadership to charge into great danger. Like the New York firefighters and police officers who charged into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on 9/11, they knew they were in mortal danger, but they went in anyway. They save thousands that day, a real miracle. If they had not done so, many more would have died.
Charge into danger! If possible, know your risks. History shows clearly that being bold, aggressive, and courageous brings about the greatest chance of success.
Oh, and let’s not forget that today is Columbus Day; a celebration of Italian-Americans and the symbol of courage and greatness from humble beginnings.