Keystone of Courage

Written by guest blogger CW4 Doug Petersen (Ret), who served 20 years as a US Army Aviator.  A decorated Vietnam veteran, Doug was a Dustoff pilot and was shot down twice during his tour. Check out more of Doug’s work at  or listen to his TEDx Talk.

courage blog

This is part one of an eight-part series on values. Each of the eight-blog posts will focus on one core value and how it applies to our veterans and those still serving our country.

Our veterans, current service men and women, and first responders in their own unique capacity exemplify this core basic value of Courage. Every day, these brave men and women fuel their courage with a sense of duty and dedication to others. We all could learn the lesson of Courage by just imagining what it would be like to walk one day in their boots. The great American John Wayne stated, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” As we think of our military and first responders, this cannot be any truer.

There at the very top of the arch, is a single, oddly shaped stone. It’s not square shaped like the others, and it is wider at the top than the bottom. It is the one stone that holds all the others in place without mortar. It is the keystone; that individual rock that gives the stone arch its true beauty and structure.

There is one value that is the keystone to our arch, and that is courage. Courage is that one value that is interlocked with all the others, and is the keystone. While we may not give it much thought throughout the day, our value of courage is working. If we’re traveling on this journey, living our values as best, we can, then courage is our companion.

Courage helps us tell the truth, when it would be easier to tell a white lie. It gives us the power to face fear head on, and not let it control our lives. Courage gives us the strength to be authentic and remove the mask that hides the real inner self. We can be ‘real’ and just be ourselves, and courage lets us do that. It takes courage to get out of self and serve others. It takes courage to love another person.

We all have courage, and we need to bring it out from where it’s hiding and let it support our arch of values. Our keystone of courage holds our beautiful arch of values together, so let go forward on our journey, knowing our arch is strong.

Today’s Journey is all about the keystone of courage.

Inspire: Today’s Journey, by Douglas N Petersen. ISBN 978-1-62137-639-2 (softcover); 978-1-62137-640-8 (electronic). Library of Congress Control Number: 2014921800. Cover photograph by iStock contributor David Wilberg. Cover design by VBW staff, Kassi Cooper.
Published 2014 by Publishing Inc., P.O. Box 9949. College Station, TX 77842, US. ©2014 Douglas N Petersen. All rights reserved.



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