Hello Fear, old friend…

While talking to my sister yesterday (it was her birthday), she touched on a book that she was reading that said that the brave are not immune to fear; in fact, they have been intimate with fear on many occasions. I feel like the last few years have connected me with fear, which allows me to understand Don’s use of it while fighting in France during WWII. Having troops is similar to having children, because their survival is your responsibility. In my novel, there is a short speech made by a British Brigadier before they get on the boats headed for Normandy:
“Acceptance of the end is perhaps your greatest strength. If you can come to an agreement with Death, allow it to fill you up, hollow you out, and act for you, you will become a more efficient weapon. To be a soldier is to be a wall. So that the only way out is through. Do everything you can to stop their advance, and Death will reward you. Hand over fear, hunger. Look at the enemy not as your hate, your target: a Nazi. Look not at age or race; that’s exhausting and does little for you. Look at the enemy and regard them as you would any obstacle in your way. A Nazi is not a man. It is not a supernatural force. It is an animal – one with lungs, mind and beating heart – one that is easily dispatched. In the field, become your weapon. Be the tank, be your rifle. Do as you would without emotion. And you would be the hand of Death. If you can accept death as inevitable, you can return to your master when you please, and not when he calls you. And in return for your acquiescence, you will be stronger, faster, and maybe, you’ll even live through this.”
Don wishes to disagree with this, because he doesn’t know how to be hollow. He is so careful and full of love for his men, his country, and his wife that he cannot conceive of giving in. He believes that he is not brave because he is so afraid, when it is fear that makes him so.


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