Nos morituri….

| October 19, 2017 | 49 Comments

There I was, at the front of the line, putting together arms and armor for a mighty battle, when it occurred to me, as the puzzled but willing leader of this loosely knit band of tramps, humans, humanoids, and various alien species, that I had no pep talk at the ready. No rousing oration to stir the blood. No ‘Nos morituri te salutamos’ sort of thing. So I had to put down the sword polish and go and consult with the best speechifiers I could find, which took a bit of time, time travel and digging.

There is, of course, the internet in addition to the videos available, both of which make the job of cobbling a pep talk together so much easier. But will it answer that question: what stirs the blood?

I always liked this part, from Jack Kennedy’s inaugural speech:   Ask not what your country can do for you.  Ask what you can do for your country.

We have bits and bobs of Patton’s actual speech, in various videos. This one isn’t too bad:

Then there’s Marco D’Aviano’s speech on the hill in ‘Day of  the Siege’, a so-so movie about the Siege of Vienna. The movie itself is kind of slow, but the delivery of speech by F. Murray Abraham as the monk D’Aviano is stirring, with the Polish King Jan Sobieski and his Winged Hussars attacking the Turks at the end of it:

Theoden, King of Rohan and the Riddermark, made a rousing battle speech at Isengard:

Aragon made another speech at the Black Gate, just before Sauron (who was afraid of Morgoth, who was afraid of the Balrogs) disintegrated when the One Ring melted.

Crassus wanted to know who Spartacus was. He sorely underestimated the people he faced, misunderstood what it takes to truly lead people, and was assassinated by the Parthians when he also underestimated the desert of the Middle East and the pure skill and will power of the Parthian army. And in the end, everyone was Spartacus:

So just what is it that stirs your slow, tired blood?

What sends chills up your spine?

What is it that makes want to you get off your duff and follow them into the thick of it?

Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves"

Comments (49)

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  1. Graybeard says:

    The St. Crispin’s Day speech from William Shakespeare’s play, Henry V, in Act IV Scene iii 18–67.

    We few, we happy few…

  2. Mick says:

    General Mattis’s letter to the 1st Marine Division just prior to the beginning of the assault into Iraq in March 2003:

    ‘For decades, Saddam Hussein has tortured, imprisoned, raped and murdered the Iraqi people; invading neighboring countries without provocation; and threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction. The time has come to end his reign of terror. On your young shoulders rest the hopes of mankind.

    When I give you the word, together we will cross the Line of Departure, close with those forces that choose to fight, and destroy them. Our fight is not with the Iraqi people, nor is it with members of the Iraqi army who choose to surrender. While we will move swiftly and aggressively against those who resist, we will treat all others with decency, demonstrating chivalry and soldierly compassion for people who have endured a lifetime of oppression under Saddam’s oppression.

    Chemical attack, treachery and use of the innocent as human shields can be expected, as can other unethical tactics. Take it all in stride. Be the hunter, not the hunted: never allow your unit to be caught with its guard down. Use good judgement and act in best interests of our Nation.

    You are a part of the world’s most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon. Share your courage with each other as we enter the uncertain terrain north of the Line of Departure. Keep faith in your comrades on your left and right and Marine Air overhead. Fight with a happy heart and strong spirit.

    For the mission’s sake, our country’s sake, and the sake of the men who carried the Division’s colors is past battles-who fought for life and never lost their nerve-carry out your mission and keep your honor clean. Demonstrate to the world there is “No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy” than a U.S. Marine.’

  3. NotThatChuck says:

    Two movies come to mind: In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian’s speech where he knight’s the Patriarch’s servant, the grave digger, and everybody else within earshot gets the blood moving; the other is Gettysburg, in the scene where Chamberlain prepares his troops for the bayonet charge. Every time I see that, when he bellows “Bayonets!”, I get chills.

  4. Steve says:

    Maximus’ speech to his troops right at the beginning of Gladiator

  5. GI JANE says:

    And King Leonidas:
    “Xerxes wrote to him, “It is possible for you, by not fighting against God but by ranging yourself on my side, to be the sole ruler of Greece.” But he wrote in reply, “If you had any knowledge of the noble things of life, you would refrain from coveting others’ possessions; but for me to die for Greece is better than to be the sole ruler over the people of my race.”
    When Xerxes wrote again, “Hand over your arms,” he wrote in reply, “Come and take them.” ‘Molon labe’ (μολών λαβέ)

    When someone said, “Because of the arrows of the barbarians it is impossible to see the sun,” he said, “Won’t it be nice, then, if we shall have shade in which to fight them?”

    ‘Have a good breakfast men, for we dine in Hades!’…/47931_Spartaquotes

  6. NHSparky says:

    “So no more running. I aim to misbehave.”

  7. Guard Bum says:

    Cool a Cheer Leader!

    If you read a historical first person account of Washington’s resignation speech in 1784 it is very moving and despite the current fad to bash our fore fathers he still remains a beacon for the world 233 years later.

    Also virtually any speech by Winston Churchill. Seriously, I have watched several of his speeches from the dark days of early WWII on YouTube and you are left wondering “where would we be today if Great Britain had not found this steadfast leader”.

  8. Claw says:

    There’s another quote from JFK that I think applies to all facets/members/commenters of the Stolen Valor outing community:

    “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

  9. TopGoz says:

    The best 2-minute speech ever given (and Lincoln wasn’t even the main speaker, but no one remembers the other guy):

    Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

    Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

    But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

    Abraham Lincoln
    November 19, 1863

  10. The Other White says:

    Many very good ones have already been mentioned. To those I would add Mel Gibson’s rendition of then-LTC Hal Moore’s speech to the 7th Cav before deploying to Vietnam in “We Were Soldiers.”

    Another notable one was given by MAJ Dragutin Gavrilovic of the Royal Serbian Army to the defenders of Belgrade as the invading Austro-Hungarian army closed on them in 1914:

    “Exactly at three o’clock, the enemy is due to be crushed by your fierce charge, destroyed by your grenades and bayonets. The honor of Belgrade, our capital, must not be stained. Soldiers! Heroes! The supreme command has erased our regiment from its records. Our regiment has been sacrificed for the honor of Belgrade and the Fatherland. Therefore, you no longer need worry about your lives: they no longer exist. So, forward to glory! Long live Belgrade!”

  11. OldSoldier54 says:

    In Hacksaw Ridge, when PVT Doss is up on top alone, he asks the the Most High, “What do You want me to do, Lord?”
    He hears the cries of the wounded then, and says,” Ok, Lord. Ok.”
    Before that, it was COL Joshua Chamberlain’s command to fix bayonets at Little Round Top.

  12. SSG Kane says:

    I’m your huckleberry.

  13. Mason says:

    As an enlistee right after 9/11, I’ll never forget how fired up the church full of trainees would get when they’d play those “grouchy” videos. In particular, the bodies one with the terrorists’ photos set to the refrain of “let the bodies hit the floor.” A thousand young, fired up troops was awesome. We’d have charged the gates of hell at that moment.

  14. DocLockjaw says:

    “I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death”
    Patrick Henry

  15. Bill (a NIMBY/Banana) says:

    Ex-PH2- Thank you for bringing up this subject. 20 minutes ago I watched General Kelly’s talk to the “press” at the White House (in re: casualty calls). I can just say—Semper Fidelis.

  16. AnotherPat says:

    What stirs this slow, tired blood?

    What sends chills up this spine?

    What makes this ole soul motivated and follow them in the thick of it?

    Several of them :

    (1) Alfred Lord Tennyson’s narrative poem “The Charge of the Light Brigade”.

    (2) President Reagon’s speech at the Brandenberg Gate in 1987.

    (3) “High Flight” nararated by William Conrod.

    (4) General MacArthur’s Farewell Speech to Congress in 1951.

    (5) Peter Finch’s monologue in the 1976 movie “Network”.

    (6) Bluto’s motivating speech to his Fraternity Brothers in “Animal House”, because we all know nothing is over until we decide it is…(was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!)

    (7) The 1984 song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister. Which we do at TAH with phonies…and other Troublemakers…(you know who they are…😉)

  17. Mr. Pete says:

    Go ahead, make my day

  18. Ex-PH2 says:

    A couple of quotes from Sitting Bull…

    “For us, warriors are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who can not provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.”

    “I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle.”

  19. NavyEODguy says:

    Comments I’ve used against bullies after their ranting/belittling “tough” talk:

    a. (Palms slapping on self’s chest while yelling) FLZ – motherfucker! FLZ; frog landing zone – so if you feel foggy, just jump.

    b. Well now that you’re finished with your bullshit rant, what’s stopping you? I’ll tell you – it’s the fear still running through your veins you mealie mouthed fuck!

    c. If you’re still in my personal space when I finish talking, all I’m going to do is break every.single.fucking.bone in your body. Then I’m going to rip off your fucking head and shit down your slimy fucking neck.

    “I’m a Navy EOD Tech; 6 foot 2, 230 pounds of muscle, bone and blood. I’m a deep sea divin’ parachute drivin’ non-ferrous, double-crimpin’ hairy chested, stripped ass mankiller. I’m the last of the bare-knuckled fighters and ball room dancers. How do you like me so far. I’m as innocent as a new born babe and as pure as the driven snow. No sky too high, no sea too deep. I will start or stop wars for a fee and deflower virgins for free. Any time any place. Just one friendly reminder – don’t ever get in my face.”

    No copyright for my friends … hehe

  20. Yef says:

    CSM John Wayne Troxel, CSM of the 4th SBCT (stryker brigade combat team), 2nd ID.

    Two third of the way through an 18 month deployment, Iraq 2007-2008, the Surge.

    “Enjoy it while it lasts”.

  21. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    SGM Plumley, “Gentlemen, prepare to defend yourself!”

  22. Forest Green says:

    I Believe and Profess
    Karl von Clausewitz
    I believe and profess that a people must never value anything higher than the dignity and freedom of its existence; that it must defend these with the last drop of its blood; that it has no duty more sacred and can obey no law that is higher; that the shame of a cowardly submission can never be wiped out; that the poison of submission in the bloodstream of the people will be transmitted to its children, and paralyze and undermine the strength of later generations; that honor can be lost only once; that under most circumstances, a people is unconquerable if it fights a spirited struggle for its liberty; that a bloody and honorable fight assures a rebirth of the people even if freedom were lost; and that such a struggle is the seed of life from which a new tree inevitably will blossom.
    I declare and assert to the world and to future generations that I consider the false wisdom which aims at avoiding danger to be the most pernicious result of fear and anxiety. Danger must be countered with virile courage joined with calm and firm resolve and clear conscience. Should we be denied the opportunity of defending ourselves in this manner, I hold reckless despair to be a wise course of action. In the dizzy fear which is beclouding our days, I remain mindful of the ominous events of old in recent times, and of the honorable examples set by famed peoples. The words of a mendacious newspaper do not make me forget the lessons of centuries and of world history.
    I assert that I’m free of all personal ambitions; that I profess thoughts and sentiments openly before all citizens; and that I would be happy to find a glorious end in the splendid battle for freedom and excellence of my country.
    Does my faith and the faith of those who think like me deserve the contempt and scorn of our citizens? Future generations will decide.
    The nation cannot buy freedom from the slavery of alien rule by artifices and stratagems. It must throw itself recklessly into battle; it must pit a thousand lives against a thousand-fold gain of life. Only in this manner can the nation arise from the sickbed to which it was fastened by foreign chains.
    Boldness, that noble virtue through which the human soul rises above the most menacing dangers, must be deemed to be a decisive agent in conflict. Indeed, in which sphere of human activity should boldness come into its own unless it is in struggle?
    Boldness is the outstanding military quality, the genuine steel which gives to arms their luster and sharpness. It must imbue the force from camp follower and private to the Commander-in-Chief.
    In our times, struggle, and, specifically, an audacious conduct of war are practically the only means to develop a people’s spirit of daring. Only courageous leadership can counter the softness of spirit and the love of comfort which pull down commercial peoples, enjoying rising living standards. Only if national character and habituation to conflict interact constantly upon each other can the nation hope to hold a firm position in the political world.
    A nation which does not dare to talk boldly will risk even less to act with courage.
    A nation does not go under because for one or two years it engages in efforts which it could not sustain for 10 or 20 years. If the importance of the purpose demands it, and especially if it is a matter of maintaining independence and honor, such efforts are a call to duty. The government possesses all the means required to persuade the people to live up to their obligations. It is entitled to expect exertions, to insist on them, and if necessary is bound to compel compliance. Strong and purposive governments, which are truly capable of managing affairs, never will fail to act in this manner.
    Perhaps there never again will be times when nations will be obliged to take refuge in the last desperate means of popular uprising against foreign domination. Yet in our epoch, every war inevitably is a matter of national interest and must be conducted in that spirit, with the intensity of effort which the strength of the national character allows and the government demands.
    In my judgment, the most important political rules are: never relax vigilance; expect nothing from the magnanimity of others; never abandon a purpose until it has become impossible, beyond doubt, to attain it; hold the honor of the state as sacred.
    The time is yours; what its fulfillment will be, depends on you…
    Translated by:
    Edward M. Collins 1962
    Collins, Edward M (ed), War, Politics & Power; Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1962

  23. Forest Green says:

    This is an excerpt of a speech given by Lieutenant General John F. Kelly USMC on November 13, 2010 to the Semper Fidelis Society of St Louis in honor of the Marine Corps Birthday. Lt General Kelly’s son, First Lieutenant Robert Michael Kelly, was killed in action in Sangin, Afghanistan only four days before Lt. Gen. Kelly gave this speech.
    The link below will take you to the speech in its entirety, if you would like to read all his remarks.
    The subject of the speech was to assure Society members that currently serving Marines live up to the high standards set for them by their predecessors. The excerpt below demonstrates that LtGen Kelly’s assertion regarding the professionalism and bravery of today’s Marines in true.

    “…I will leave you with a story about the kind of people they [Marines] are…about the quality of the steel in their backs…about the kind of dedication they bring to our country while they serve in uniform and forever after as veterans. Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines. The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
    The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.
    A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way-perhaps 60-70 yards in length-and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.
    When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different. The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event-just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.
    I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured…some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.” “What he didn’t know until then,” he said, “and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal.” Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.” “No sane man.” “They saved us all.”
    What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
    You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “…let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” The two Marines had about five seconds left to live.
    It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were-some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
    For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers-American and Iraqi-bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have known they were safe…because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber. The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread should width apart; they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
    The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty…into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight-for you.
    We Marines believe that God gave America the greatest gift he could bestow to man while he lived on this earth-freedom. We also believe he gave us another gift nearly as precious-our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines-to safeguard that gift and guarantee no force on this earth can ever steal it away. It has been my distinct honor to have been with you here today. Rest assured our America, this experiment in democracy started over two centuries ago, will forever remain the “land of the free and home of the brave” so long as we never run out of tough young Americans who are willing to look beyond their own self-interest and comfortable lives, and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down, and kill, those who would do us harm. God Bless America, and…SEMPER FIDELIS!”

  24. mr. sharkman says:

    And then, back in the Real World (TM), on the Dark Side of Democracy (TM) years ago…

    Leader: ‘Revered Poseidon, please don’t let any of us fvck up…[i]too badly[/i].’

    The Pack: ‘Amen.’

    Leader: ‘Hokay boys, time for some of that Teams n’ Sh1t style heroics. FEBU.’

    The Pack: ‘FEBU.’

    And off they went. And the rest, they say, is (redacted) history.

    FEBU = Fvck Everyone But Us

  25. Mayhem says:

    PH2 – I am terrbly sorry but my mind went off in a different direction after “sword polish”. Could you repeat what you said? I’m just a simple guy with simple needs.

  26. Joe says:

    “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves”.

    ~Abraham Lincoln

  27. Joe says:

    Why do my comments keep disappearing and reappearing?

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