Food For Thought Essays

Submitted By ryancollins
Words: 997
Pages: 4

Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his inaugural address of 1933, fired the opening salvos in his long protracted campaign against the ravages both economic and psychological incurred by the American people during the “Great Depression.” Recognizing that the collective psyche of Americans had been infiltrated by an enemy who was dug in deep, Roosevelt dropped a bunker busting bomb on its head with the declaration, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” In this quote, I believe the President was articulating the notion that the pervasive fear that had swept over the country was an impediment to the nations economic recovery. That type of fear that holds one hostage and renders them powerless is the only thing to be afraid of. If you are afraid of what may happen next all the time, you will most likely live a miserable existence. In this essay, I will describe how fear can serve as a means of providing a person with motivation to move forward in life based upon some of my own personal experiences.
The summer after I graduated high school, I enlisted into the United States Army. I would experience fear many times in my service, but the fear that my drill sergeant from basic training created over that summer was special. Drill Sergeant Brown was his name, and his favorite method to create fear was to march our platoon to a pit of rubber mulch covered with a sheet metal roof. Once in this pit, he would initiate a “smoking,” which was an intense period of high intensity calisthenics. Right before however, an individual soldier would be ordered by Drill Sergeant Brown to exit the formation, take a seat in front of everyone, and watch the ensuing destruction of his fellow comrades. In between exercises and various conditioning drills, Drill Sergeant Brown would, in colorful language, describe to the seated soldier how his inattention to detail or how he caught him taking shortcuts during various training would cost people their lives in combat. This scenario was played out many times for many reasons that summer. The fear of being seated in front of my platoon to watch them metaphorically die, motivated me to understand the importance of why things must be done a certain way. Military service and fear are like bread and butter. Most of the time the fear stemmed from serious mind games to teach you a lesson, but every so often in the military it can be from a very real, life or death experience. In 2003, I attended the United States Army Airborne School at Ft. Benning Georgia. It was a three week course that taught soldiers how to conduct a parachute jump from a perfectly good aircraft in mid-flight. From the moment training began on the first day, the cadre of instructors impressed upon us trainees that death was always a possibility when jumping from a plane, even for the most seasoned paratroopers. Over the next few weeks, day in and day out, we would conduct various drills. The training emphasized methods to mitigate disaster by drilling over and over the proper corrective measures to take when in a bad situation. My very first jump during the last week of the course I would call a bad situation. I jumped from the plane and started to count aloud to four, to wait for the opening “shock,” felt during the parachutes canopy opening. This type of parachuting was performed with a static line, a sort of tether from your parachute pack to the plane that will deploy the parachute automatically. By the time you count to four your parachute is supposed to be open. I stopped counting when I got to five and a split second of utter horror set in. I realized that my main canopy had a malfunction and I had to perform the reserve parachute drill in real life, or most likely…