Chief Tecumseh’s Words of Wisdom (from Act of Valor)
Act of Valor is a very powerful movie. From the personal side of the lives of those in the military, to the fight they face on the front lines in today’s dangerous World, Act of Valor takes you on suspense-filled missions of today’s Navy SEALs. Although the movie is fiction, you cannot come away from it thinking that the scenarios presented could never occur; they very well could occur. The members of our military put their personal life on the shelf to go fight our wars. They leave the ones they love, and the safety of their homes, to go to all points around the World to take the fight to our enemy, so that the enemy never brings the fight to our shores. The movie reveals the sacrifices of our men and women, who respond when called, to dedicate themselves to the profession of arms, and the courage it takes to do so. A very good quote from the movie captures all of this very clearly: “If you’re not willing to give up everything, you’ve already lost.” Our country was founded on this principle, and our military fights for our freedoms and liberties according to it, and damn few choose to make the sacrifices to fight for their fellow-man. Those who do certainly give up everything for us.
When I was driving home from the movie, it was a beautiful day, with clear blue skies. Although there was a chill in the air, it certainly looked like a spring day. The movie had certainly put my mind into a different perspective, and I found myself embracing what we take for granted as citizens. Of course, on the road with me were people in their hustle and bustle to get to wherever their lives were taking them; for most, I am sure, not a care in the World. I assure you that I was paying attention to the road, but I couldn’t help day dreaming about the things we take for granted. Here we are, on such a splendid day, enjoying our freedoms; freedom to go to the mall, to church, to school. While there are men and women facing the grueling challenges of fighting our enemy, we’re enjoying life. My mind split between the image of that day’s beauty with that of the images from the battle scenes of Act of Valor. I thought to myself, “At this moment, there is a soldier somewhere in this World attempting to gain entry into a dilapidated shack in Afghanistan (or anywhere) to eradicate an insurgent who wants nothing else but to destroy our way of life, uncertain of what he might find on the other side of the door. And, here I am…driving to my home on a beautiful sunny day in my home town.” Meanwhile, the men and women of our military have put their sunny days aside so that we can enjoy ours.
At the very end of the movie, the narrator speaks the words from a poem written by Chief Tecumseh, a Native American of the Shawnee tribe. As I did research on Chief Tecumseh, I found a few other poignant quotes:
“A single twig breaks, but the bundle of twigs is strong.” (teamwork)
“Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, or even a stranger, if in a lonely place.” (courtesy)
“Let us form one body, one heart, and defend to the last warrior our country, our homes, our liberty, and the graves of our fathers.” (common bond for a common cause)
The words of the following poem, spoken at the end of the movie Act of Valor, have deep meaning, and I wanted to share it with you. As was stated in the Williamsburg Military Insider, the poem is “truly amazing and I hope that it inspires you to make this life count, to pursue noble undertakings, and live to the fullest having used all your talents and have no regrets.”
So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
Trouble no one about their religion;
respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours.
Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.
Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools
and robs the spirit of its vision.
When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled
with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep
and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way.
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.
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Copyright © Dale R. Wilson