A Veteran’s Value

By Marcos Dos Diaz Davila
Freeform Section Editor

On Feb. 22, 2022, Philip Brashear, Chief Warrant Officer 5 in the Army Reserve, spoke at KU. He detailed his 38 years of experience in the military as both a Black man and as son of Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the inspiration for the film, “Men of Honor.” Chief Brashear spoke of his time with his father, a man known for his catchphrase, “It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down.”

Hailey Fleishman
Description: Philip Brashear speaking

Carl Brashear was a man who experienced judgment based on surface level observations, such as the color of his skin or his education, never on his character. He succeeded in spite of these roadblocks, overcoming every preconceived notion the world had of him and becoming the Navy Diver he had set out to be. Despite later losing his leg, he learned to persevere with his newfound prosthetic. He would go on to wear a 300-pound diving suit and continue with his duties, eventually becoming a Master Diver.

What Chief Brashear now preaches is his father’s mantra, one the everyday person can take and apply to their daily lives. Like Carl Brashear’s diving suit, recent times can feel so overwhelmingly heavy thanks to the pandemic and the readjustment to life that it demands. However, to admit defeat would be to allow that diving suit to weigh one down.

Chief Brashear carries his father’s legacy of perseverance in the face of these obstacles, despite that three-hundred-pound suit. There is no shame in falling because there is nothing greater than the strength found in getting back up despite the odds, despite the fear, despite how impossible it seems. Go to class, apply for that internship. That is the message Chief Brashear carries on.

“It’s not a sin to get knocked down; it’s a sin to stay down.” This is the value of a veteran. 

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