"True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost." - Arthur Ashe
There is courage, the presence of character that allows someone to move through fear, and there is valour. From the Latin “be strong”, valour is courage on a level above and beyond what even the brave can be expected to display.
The Victoria Cross, the highest military award for soldiers of the Commonwealth, has “for valour” inscribed in the obverse, because to state it was for the brave would imply those without it are not brave. Many men can be brave. But true valour is rare.
And it was quite recently demonstrated in France.
A man who has served in the military, and then the GIGN, volunteered to take the place of a hostage, during a terrorist incident, to ensure that this innocent would be spared the brutal termination of said innocence. With no weapons. No protective measures. And no requirement to do so.
He could have chosen to stay out of the situation. He was not compelled by anything except his own ethical compass to put forward a proposition that led to his death. He voluntarily traded places with a female hostage (herself a survivor of a previous terror attack). He walked in to a situation like this, because he saw it as the morally right thing to do.
His character and soul called him to valour. And he died for it. He was shot 4 times, and stabbed multiple times, before the filth with ties to Isis could be put down. He survived his wounds long enough to marry his fiancé in hospital.
And the world needs to know him.
He took her place amongst the danger, and died for it, his blood given freely in defence of others.
Look upon his story and face your own character. And whether you would live up to his title of man.
Vale, to Arnaud Beltrame.