Unless you live on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with no internet, no TV, no iPad, and no iPhone then you know that Bruce Jenner, who now calls himself Caitlyn, was awarded the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the EPSY Awards ceremony on Wednesday night. I will not call him Caitlyn – that is a female name and he is not a female – no matter what anyone says or what type of medical procedures he has had performed.
I don’t know who the judges were that decided to give this award to Bruce. But they must have forgotten to check their dictionary for the definition of courage before deciding who should receive this award. Surely, they would have chosen someone who truly deserves the award.
My Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty; having or characterized by courage : brave <a courageous soldier>.”
It didn’t take courage for Bruce to say that he is now a she. He might have been a little nervous, but the publicity he has received (and isn’t that what it’s all about?) far outweighed any nervousness. He didn’t face danger or difficulty like our police officers face every time they go out on a call. Or our fire fighters who rush into burning buildings, giving no thought to their own safety as they search for survivors. Or our soldiers on the front line, who lead their teams into enemy territory, their only thought – to protect the men and women behind them while they search for their comrades – or for the enemy.
One example (among thousands who gave their life for our country) is Patrick D. Tillman. I’m sure you remember him. Patrick walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to fight for his country during Operation Enduring Freedom. It was said that his decision to walk away from his football contract “made him a hero to many of the people he admired.” “I was told he admired me but it’s the reverse …,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stated. “Pat’s journey, that’s the American dream and he sacrificed that. That to me is a real hero.” The Army stated that he was fatally shot on April 22, 2004, while fighting “without regard for his personal safety.” He was leading his team to help comrades caught in an ambush.
Or what about our wounded warriors? Severely wounded in combat, some losing an arm, or a leg, or both or all four, and they come home to less than a hero’s welcome – if they get a welcome from America at all. And then they hear that this man is getting an award for courage. Look closely at this picture. On the front row are four heroes who lost both arms. One of those men also lost a leg. On the right, at the end of the second row, this hero lost both legs.So did the young man behind him. Below, read what has been said:
“The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team™ (WWAST) is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to inspire and educate others while enhancing the health and welfare of Wounded Warrior Amputees.
The WWAST represents some of our nation’s bravest and most determined heroes, soldiers and veterans. These men have sustained severe injuries resulting in amputation, and through extensive rehabilitation, they have become competitive athletes again, playing against able-bodied teams in exhibition games across the country.
Their armor now includes prosthetic legs and arms, along with extreme perseverance and attitude. Together they are the WOUNDED WARRIOR AMPUTEE SOFTBALL TEAM.”
These men, and women, who came home with life-altering wounds, or those like Patrick D. Tillman who came home in a flag-draped casket, are the true courageous heroes. And I am ashamed – and all of us should be ashamed – that we’ve allowed one man to take the place of these true heroes.