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Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project

What is courage? Our stories from veterans of all eras show that war demands special kinds of courage, both physical and moral. We see willingness to risk life and limb, and the ability to face hardship with intense determination. Our veterans accepted challenges that put not only their lives, but their emotional well-being and their reputations on the line. We see from these stories that a display of courage often rubs off on others. It is a striking part of the EXPERIENCE of war.

Featured Story: Rhona Marie Prescott
Image of Rhona Marie Prescott

"...It was like playing God…there was no one else to do it..."

During the height of the war in Vietnam, there was a severe shortage of Army doctors in the field. In a remote hospital in An Khe, acting chief nurse, Rhona Marie “Ronnie” Knox, was called on to perform surgeries in makeshift tents in non-sterile environments. In triage, it was her job to decide: “...Let that one go; put that one on the table; this one can wait...”

Rhona Marie Prescott's storyGo and experience
Rhona Marie Prescott's story
Experience more Stories of Courage more stories

"Courage is doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared."      -- Eddie Rickenbacker, WWI flying ace

Chuck Hagel - story

"...We were on an ambush patrol..."

Senator Chuck Hagel's story

William Loncaric - story

"...I was the man who carried the maps..."

William Valentine Loncaric's story

Corbin B. Willis - story

"...we were on our 22nd bomb mission – only needed 25 to go home..."

Corbin B. Willis Jr.'s story

William J. Arnett - story

"...your chances were getting slimmer all the time..."

William Jennings Arnett's story

"...We were our own band of brothers... we were alone"

Senator Max Cleland's story

Image of Bruce Donald Fenchel

"...Lie on your back and put your steel helmet over your face..."

Bruce Donald Fenchel's story

"A coward turns away, but a brave man’s choice is danger."
         -- Euripedes, circa 412 BC
  Home >> Courage
  The Library of Congress
  February 18, 2004
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