You do not have to be a lifelong historian to appreciate the sacrifices of a Warrior like Adm. James B. Stockdale. Admittedly, I know very little about his circumstances in Vietnam and the famous Hilton located there. Here is what I understand to be truth.
When officers and men were folding to the torture of the north Vietnamese like folding chairs after a Vegas wedding, Admiral Stockdale chose to lead, to be an example for other prisoners, and in turn torture his captors. Their futile efforts to bend his will, his power to choose his response, should be a lesson to us all. Stockdale's story reminds me of Victor Frankle's which Dr. Steven Covey has popularized.
Stockdale resulted to physically torturing himself, to prove his commitment to his values and his country. I have heard that prior to a video taped interview scheduled so he could denounce US Policy, he broke his nose and beat his face to the extent that his captors could not video or photograph him. He is additionally credited with leading prisoners to form a communication system via tapping walls and pipes.
What would our society be like if, if we all exercised such integrity to our values? Or to our nation? I am sure if you ask a hundred people “ Are they are committed to their values?” most of them would answer affirmatively. How many are so committed they would be willing to fight for them? How many societies, nations, and organizations have folded to power? The power of money, power of influence, and the power of compromise each, corrupts absolutely. Is our nation one of these? Are there more Stockdales, Frankles, or (insert name here) out there? Is it better to die fighting for what you believe in or to sacrifice your values or your societies values for the good of peace?
I would encourage readers to read, authors to read and write about these Heroes vice the trash of our pop culture. In the past we find our future.
Mark C. Carroll
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