“Fools Rush In.” About Time We Revised That!

“Fools rush in, where wise men never go:” a verse line from a love song whose lyrics were written back in 1940 by Savannah’s Johnny Mercer.  Now, seventy-eight years later, after many recordings, and with that lyric still fondly remembered, it’s one that needs a revision to better reflect, in those succeeding years, who actually “rushes in,” and, a hint, it’s not “fools.”  So let’s drop the romantic fantasy and replace with a more valid reality.  It’s not about “fools” rushing in, because fools don’t.  The more accurate replacement is “Brave Americans,” for it is they who do rush in, and have through the generations.  Rushing, with little or no hesitation, towards the sights or sounds of danger and distress in order to secure a rescue or impose a defeat.  Rushing in, where “lesser men never go,” to complete the lyric revision.

For examples, we could go back to the birth of America, but let’s start with some from more recent generations.  The brave American service members who stormed the machine gun-laced beaches of Normandy.  And, with them, those incredible Rangers who, under fire, ascended the steep cliff that day at Point du Hoc.  The brave military men who froze in North Korea, and then in the sweltering heat of Vietnam to, in both wars, do all they could, at great cost, to stem the flow of Communism.   The brave fighting men who repelled and corralled Hussein’s aggressive forces in Gulf War I.  The brave New York City firefighters who ran toward the explosions and flames in the Twin Towers, most losing their lives in the subsequent collapse, on that perilous Second Day of Infamy, when despicable Islamic terrorists attacked America on 9/11.  Then, with a fourth terrorist-controlled airliner still a threat in the air, two Air Force fighter jets launched to divert or destroy that menacing aircraft, by whatever means needed.  One of the two Air Force pilots that day was a brave female officer determined to carry out those orders regardless of personal peril.  Fortunately, she and her colleague did not have to ram that airliner in flight (one of the take-down plans), thanks to the bravery of the men on board, who chose to charge and challenge the terrorists, ending the threat at the cost of all lives on board (either way, the inevitable and tragic outcome).  And, in subsequent years, the on-going heroics of brave American service members, men and women, taking on the militant Islamic enemy troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, sadly in a campaign to establish security in both nations that continues, unfulfilled, from post-9/11 to this day.

And the positive actions of brave Americans continue, as they always have right here at home.   Men and women from all five branches, in particular the Coast Guard and Army who achieved hundreds of rescues, by helicopter and small boat, during the recent tragic and relentless flooding that overwhelmed residents of Coastal Carolina communities.  Kudos especially to the brave Coast Guard helicopter crews, and their amazing Rescue Swimmers, who, regardless of weather or time of day, always make those dangerous lifesaving rescues from the air look so easy, when they are anything but.

And the bravery continues.  Just last week (9-19-18), a serious fire broke out at a senior citizen residential facility in Washington, D.C.  The smoke was spotted by Marines at their Headquarters Barracks nearby.  At least 100 Marines literally ran to the rescue, then rushing into the building to carry out elderly residents, assisting D.C. firefighters and paramedics on the scene, as well.  Several of the residents were taken to the Marine Barracks to be assisted and sheltered until family members arrived.  Like the firefighters, these Marines ran toward the flames, ran toward the threat, and even into the burning building to achieve rescues.  “From junior enlisted Marines, to the base commanding officer, the response was a display of level-headed professionalism and duty to their neighbors.”  Great bravery and courage, not just on the battlefield, but, without hesitation, here at home, as well.

And last week, also, (9-21-2018), in Western Pennsylvania, a man scheduled for a domestic violence hearing, entered a municipal building and began shooting inside the office of the Magistrate Judge.  Police officers responded quickly, and although four people were wounded by the shooter, one of the responding officers fatally wounded that assailant, ending the threat.  “The police officer ran toward the danger, not away,” said a district attorney.  “He protected over 30 to 40 people from injury or death.”  The type of response to, and not from danger, carried out by law enforcement officers, around the nation, routinely, as they respond with haste to the unknown circumstances of robberies in progress, hostage situations, and the always potentially volatile domestic issues.  Continued demonstrations of bravery, well beyond that possessed by most of us.

To conclude these sample illustrations of bravery, one poignant photo still comes to mind from years ago during the Iraq conflict.  The scene is a busy marketplace in an Iraqi town with local residents seen, in the background, hurrying for cover.  Clearly gun fire, possibly explosions, are taking place.  In the center of the picture is an American soldier, firearm at the ready, standing firm, boldly facing the direction of the gunfire and mayhem, while the townspeople around him were on the run.  But there, kneeling down behind the legs of that steadfast American soldier, was a visibly scared young Iraqi boy.  A boy who sensed the danger and who sought in those chaotic moments, an immediate place of safety.  And for that protection, he chose our soldier. Someone to shield him from harm. Someone he sensed, or knew, would not run from the conflict, but, rather, would stand his ground and face it.  What an image.  What a tribute, from a young boy, to the protective bravery of that soldier.

Illustrations are unending, throughout the generations, and right up to the present, of the lasting truth that it is indeed, not “fools,” but very Brave Americans, who continue to rush in, where lesser men never go.  Heartfelt thanks to all those of unquestioned courage who, on our behalf, will rush toward the call for help, the call for justice, the call for freedom.  American heroes everyone.  The very best of our nation.

(Marine rescue quote, Gina Harkins, Military.com, 9-20-18 / Pennsylvania rescue quote, The Blaze.com, 9-21-18)