I remember jumping off of a cliff.  The cliff was in Washington, it was about 100 feet up and I was in high school.  A couple of kids had died there from falling off the waterfall but if you jumped out far enough the story was that you’d make it just fine.  I remember watching the water cascade off the edge from the top of the falls.  There was a winding path that you could take if you wanted to walk down to the bottom where the water crashed down with a thundering roar.

I squatted there looking over the edge.  I didn’t know what it would be like.  I was told that if you crossed your arms across your chest and kept your legs closed you’d be just fine.  Looking over the edge I remember thinking that I couldn’t do it.  then the next thing I know my legs are bending and my muscles are tensing for the jump.  I can’t do this my mind screamed.  I am going to die.  I won’t make it.  No matter how long those brief seconds felt like they lasted hours in my own head.  I was tensing and squatting for the jump.  I was alive and invincible.  I was scared and going to die.  I was jumping.

I landed in the bottom of the falls.  I was alive and never had I felt such a feeling.  Fear won’t stop me I decided that day.  I would jump off the cliff about once every 2 weeks all summer long, just to know that I could still do it, that I wasn’t afraid.  I don’t remember ever being scared of dying to the point where I couldn’t move or react, I had tested my limits and found that I could surpass them.  That is my story, that is what I have felt in war when I entered Iraq in 2003 at the beginning of the war and that is how I felt every time I pulled the trigger to protect my life or the life of my fellow soldiers.

  1. You could have just as easily entitled this post “Courage”… 🙂

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