On September 7, 1940, German bombers attacked London, England. They attacked again the next day. And the next. Over the following eight months, Londoners did their best to carry on normal lives, knowing that each day, “the odds that someone, somewhere in London would die were 100 percent.” Many of the air raids took place under the cover of darkness, making nightfall especially dreadful. In all, 2 million homes were destroyed, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed. During this frightening time, a young boy was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up. He answered, “Alive.”
Despite the damage the bombers caused, however, they failed in at least one of their missions: to demoralize the people. In fact, morale seemed to increase after each attack—people seemed more confident, more determined, and more willing to volunteer. When someone suggested to British prime minister Winston Churchill that he had given the people the courage to carry on, Churchill responded: “I never gave them courage. I was able to focus theirs.”
Sometimes we hear stories like these and doubt whether we would be so courageous in similar situations. But that’s the curious thing about courage—we never really know how much we have until the time comes to use it. And the fact is, our time calls for abundant courage. A deadly pandemic has swept across the globe. Wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes have wiped out neighborhoods. Many people have lost jobs, lost loved ones, or struggled with loneliness. Others feel bombarded with one challenging day after another.
And yet deep within each of us is the courage to face these challenges, to stand firm, to keep going. Signs of such courage are all around us. We see it in expressions of love and appreciation between friends. We see it in the encouraging smile of a neighbor. We see it when strangers choose to put differences aside and serve someone in need. We see it when people around the world, from a variety of faiths, unite in prayer.
Morale is not spent during perilous times—that is when it flourishes! Courage cannot be given or taken away. Courage comes from within. And once focused, it gives us the power to carry on, no matter what.
February 28, 2021
Broadcast Number 4,772
The Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Standing on the Promises
Russell K. Carter; arr. Ryan Murphy
The Lord My Pasture Will Prepare
Dmitri Bortniansky; arr. Mack Wilberg
Final, from Symphony no. 1
Where Is Love? from Oliver!
Lionel Bart; arr. Michael Davis
Love One Another
Luacine Clark Fox; arr. Mack Wilberg