When Character Counts

By | August 23, 2021

[August 23, 2021]   In a speech after the brutal U.S. Civil War ended, Army General William Tecumseh Sherman said, “I tell you, war is Hell.”1  He was a man who knew the viciousness of war and the terrible price people pay.  But he was also adamant that when the going gets tough, character counts more than anything else.

The Iraq War began in March 2003.  Being 18 years ago, it is hard to imagine how young we were as soldiers and how far we have come.  The thumbnail photo is this article’s header is of U.S. Army medic Joseph Dwyer.  That day, he saved the life of a young Iraqi boy who had been injured and, half-naked, was protected by Dwyer.

Much has been written about the importance of character in a person.  Today, we are treated with the belief that either character does not matter or is gone from our society.  I’m not smart enough to know the answer, but I am hopeful that many people – often the most average person from all walks of life – still possess the character of great quality.  When things get difficult, those are the people who step forward to do the right thing.  They act when character counts.

Years ago, when I started this leadership blog, I addressed the issue of character at length.  You can find a long series on those traits that make a person of character on these pages.  As such, I discovered that character is a complex idea but remains relatively stable across time and cultures.  People know when character is needed.  “How,” they know, is something I cannot understand, but I’m with them.

Character is not the feature of war only.  It is often found in the most trying times and when we come under great threats of war, famine, disease, etc.  Character is possessed by anyone who has the inner strength to do good things.  It could be a new mother who stays with her sick child or a young boy who stands his ground to prevent bullies from attacking weaker children.  It matters not our age, gender, class of birth, religion, or upbringing.

Character is what allows the world to progress.  And the fact that we are progressing in so many areas tells me that there are plenty of people who have character in ample supply.

Medic Dwyer returned home after the war but struggled with his memories of the war.  He turned to his friends, who helped him cope.  He continued with the military, but his memories became too much of a powerful force.  Dwyer turned to drugs, and only three years after this photo was taken, he overdosed when his demons finally caught up with him.

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.

16 thoughts on “When Character Counts

  1. Gil Johnson

    Gen. Satterfield, another excellent article. This is an important issue as we see inside the USA that a man who is president lacks character. Joe Biden is a classic example of how the lack of character effects decision making. Let’s study him and write more about him so that we all don’t make those mistakes and help develop others in their character.

  2. Audrey

    How much more can Joe Biden fail? Are we tired of failing yet? Is there a worse president in US history? Did Jimmy Carter put Biden up to become the worst president ever? Or were we just gullible?

    1. Guns are Us

      “Almost everything Joe Biden has touched since entering office has turned to dross. None of his blame-gaming, none of his distortions, none of his fantasies and unreality can mask that truth.” Victor Davis Hanson. Don’t you just love this man. He is a great thinker and sure knows how to put what I’m thinking into words.

  3. H. M. Longstreet

    Can things get any worse under Pres Joe Biden? The crazy liberals are now running around with their hair on fire wondering how to protect Dementia Joe. Oh, “dementia joe” is now trending on Twitter. Of course, we all know it but leftist whackos cannot see what is in their face.

  4. Rev. Michael Cain

    “Character is what allows the world to progress. And the fact that we are progressing in so many areas tells me that there are plenty of people who have character in ample supply.” Well said.

    1. Pooch T.

      Yes, Rev Cain and of course this is what is lacking in both Joe BIden and his minions.

      1. Greg Heyman

        We are witnessing what a lack of character does. I’ve seen this on a smaller scale but not this big. BIG. What else horrible can Joe Biden do …. open southern border, inviting in COVID infected and drug runners, runaway inflation, rising crime. What else is there for a Democrat to do these days?

      2. Deplorable John

        Yes, and we are going to get it real hard and fast over the next few months. Up our rear ends.

          1. Dead Pool Guy

            Well John, I do agree and yet nothing, and I mean nothing at all will be done to change course with this feeble, dementia patient we have as president (small “p”). Biden is damaged goods. He cannot be trusted ever to make the correct foreign policy decision. Gates said it right that Biden has never been on the right end of a foreign policy decision. Get rid of Biden’s national security team. They are wannabe leaders.

  5. Greg NH

    What’s up Gen. Satterfield, I thought I saw a different article early this morning. Oh, well, this one is great. Thank you.

    1. Silly Man

      Yep, saw the same. He has a new book coming out soon. I heard this thru the grapevine.

    2. Nan Broomingdale

      Was there? Not so sure, but there are rumors about Gen. Satterfield coming out with a new book. Let’s hope so.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.