By Taylor Forrest
Video by Dalton Carver
Photos by Hanna House and Dalton Carver
Audio story by Bailey VenJohn
Nigerians poking their fingers in your chest and handing out death threats. Bullets whizzing by deviating inches from your head.
These were a few of the gut-wrenching stories that Sebastian Junger, award-winning author and American journalist, shared at the Docking Lecture on March 5 in the Richardson Performing Arts Center.
Although Junger vividly described personal stories from his 20 years of experience as a freelance war correspondent, he also talked about the essence of courage and brotherhood. He tied this brotherhood and courage majorly to the time he spent embedded in the Battle Company of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Afghanistan.
“This brotherhood and willingness to sacrifice is what young men miss when they come home from war,” said Junger. “Brotherhood is not based on how much you like someone.”
While talking about courage, Junger made sure to distinguish between moral courage and the kind of courage that requires heroic action. He further elucidated on the necessity of both types of courage.
“We are all capable of courage in our own way, however we decide to use it,” said Junger.
He also talked about how deciding to go to warzones to do freelance work is what made him feel like a man and worthy of courage. “I was 31 years old and there was a war in Bosnia and I just decided to go. I realized that without fear you can’t have courage and I felt like I wasn’t living to my full potential because I had a fairly easy life in the physical sense,” said Junger.
Junger wrapped up the lecture by urging that national service become a forerunner in the minds of American citizens.
“You don’t have to serve in the military to serve your country. There are things such as natural disasters that demand national service,” said Junger. “I also don’t think that some people realize that a lot of industrial jobs that keep this country running have higher mortality rates than those careers in combat. Those individuals sacrifice for our country as well.”
After the lecture, Junger opened up two microphones for questions from the audience. The questions posed for Junger ranged from, “How would you describe a just war,” “Did you ever experience PTSD,” and even “After going from such a high intensity career, what do you do now?”
Chris Barker, assistant professor of political science, compared Junger to Ernest Hemingway and drew comparisons on how both felt the need to make a contribution to war efforts. He also asked Junger to explain the process by which he arrived at his conclusions about manhood and courage.
“As the resident political scientist here at Southwestern College I think that Junger’s talk about how, when and why we activate virtue of courage was of very high value for students,” said Barker. “He could have made films and written books that were about himself, and they would have been intensely interesting, but instead he wanted to make a broader contribution that would teach others, as well as himself, about manliness.”
Robert Hernandez, history senior, was one of many students that was required to attend the lecture for credit in a class, but he thought that it was well worth his time. “I thought that the most interesting thing about the lecture was Junger’s statement on how humans are the only ones who can be courageous. We put our needs above others when no other species can,” said Hernandez.
The Docking Lecture is funded and underwritten by the Docking Family, whom have been integrated in government and politics for several years. A distinguished individual is invited to come speak at the college every other year for this event.
Most Notable Works by Junger:
The Perfect Storm
A Death in Belmont
Which Way is the Front Line from Here?
The Last Patrol
Most Notable Awards Given to Junger:
National Magazine Award
SAIS Novartis Prize for Journalism
Grand Jury Prize Documentary
News and Documentary Emmy
Academy Award Nomination
Taylor Forrest is a freshman majoring in communication. You may email her at email@example.com