These words that McCain wrote in his book, "Why Courage Matters" came as a great suprise to me.
Please tell me what you think after you have read it:)
"`Enduring an inescapable fate stoically is admirable, but it is not the same thing as courage. Suffering stoically a terrible fate that you could have escaped, but that your convictions, your sense of honor, compelled you to accept, is. The Christians sacrficed to the lions chose not to be sacrificed, but to be Christians. The politics and bigotry of the Romans consigned them to a violent end, which they could have avoided by renouncing their faith. But they didn't choose death. They chose to keep their faith, their hope of eternal life, and suffer the consequences. Whether they suffer stoically or were dragged to the experiance pleading for their lives is beside the point. Keeping their faith required courage superior to the resolve of a person who accepts unwanted but unavoidable trouble with admirable composure. The object of courage isn't just a hansome comportment or a physical expression of strength.
Courage must be conscientious of duty if it is to claim the distinction of being the first, indispensable virtue. It is much more than mental toughness or "Grace under pressure," as Hemingway defined it. For years I thought it was. And when asked for a definition of courage, I usually quoted Hemningway's response. But I learned that people who cry out in despair, who are seized by mortal terror, can still act heroically. Although courageous people often appear to act gracefully under pressure, and their dignified, disciplined behavior produces some of the most lasting images in fiction and history, it isn't grace that proclaims their courage, but their decision to face the pressure at all, and face it for reasons greater than simply to prove to themsevles or others that they could do it with aplomb. Face the experiance with quiet assurance or with a look that reflects stark terror, screaming in anguish all the while. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that you faced it, lived it, and did so because your conscience compelled you to act. That is what give courage its grandeur. Even Christ on the cross, my faith's most exlated example of courage, cried out in desperation, "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?" It is not Christ's reticence in a moment of agony that we worship. It is because he accepted his duty to love, a love incarnate--God became man to redeem humanity by love--and the awful suffering his duty demanded that we exalt the singular courage of his sacrifice. "