Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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To be a man, Not just a man, but also a man of courage, To fight for your country is to be a man.

Tales of great battles shook the land, Not distinctly Homeric, but much glory in them.

Vivid pictures come to mind, Extravagant in color, lurid with breathless deeds on the battlefield.

His chance would come, for his deeds to be cut into everlasting tablets of brass.

Would he be ready? Across the smoke infested fields came a brown swarm of charging men, Swinging rifles at all angles with animalistic ferocity.

He suddenly lost concern for himself in the heated battle, He became not a man, but a member.

Panic spread. Could he make the ultimate sacrifice for his country? He ran like a rabbit.

He told himself he fled because annihilation approached, Why it would be foolish not to run!!! When imminent danger lurks does a squirrel not run? He had betrayed the higher trust of the regiment, and of man, He had separated the sacred bond between soldiers, He may never know himself again.

The youth eyes were amazed, Everywhere he saw fallen soldiers.

He wished that he too, had a wound, A little Red Badge of Courage.

He wished he hadn't fled.

He had been taught much of life could be avoided, But, he must fight now or suffer a life of shame.

There was a little flower of confidence growing within him, He was now a man of experience.

The men rolled their eyes toward the advancing battle as they stood awaiting the shock.

They stood as men tied to stakes. Bonded by a common fate.

With the youth's new conviction came a store of confidence.

He felt a quiet manhood, a non-assertive but sturdy manhood.

He had touched the great death and lived.

He was NOW a man.