Valor, n. The attribute, embodying bravery and courage, of a soldier
who most truly serves his country, without being deterred or
intimidated by any threatening menace which stands in the way of the
Once upon a time, three generals -- one from the Army, one from the
Navy, and one from the Air Force -- were discussing and debating
the nature of courage. The debate went through the day and long
into the night, and, finally, agreed to visit their respective
bases, in order to learn something there.
First, they visited a pier. Driving in a car, the Navy general
threw his watch into shallow water, ordering a cadet to retrieve
The cadet looked at him in fright, and then, when the general
repeated the order, dove into the water, retrieving the watch, at
the expense of severe injuries.
The general said, "That is courage."
The Army general paused in thought for a moment, and then said,
"That is indeed the beginning of courage, but there is a courage
yet greater." And so, they went to an Army base.
At the base, as several tanks were driving by, the general suddenly
commanded, "Private, stop that tank."
The man immediately ran in front of the tank, and stoically stood,
until the tank came and crushed him to death.
"That is true courage."
The general from the Air Force said, "There is yet one base that we
have not visited. There is a sense of courage -- great courage --
which both of your forces have shown, but there is a courage, and a
true patriotism, which is greater still."
There was a long time of silence, before one of the other generals
finally said, "As you wish," and drove to the Air Force base.
Here, at the beginning of a runway, the Air Force general ordered
the car stopped. As a plane came in to land, he barked out,
"Airman, stop that plane now!"
The young cadet immediately snapped to attention, and gave the
general a one-fingered salute.
The general leaned back in his seat. "Gentlemen, that is courage."
- -- Hayward's Unabridged Dictionary