March 17, 2004

Michael Kelly Feature

Via AS comes this terrific remembrance of Michael Kelly by Robert Vare in The Atlantic Monthly. I think that it will not spoil your reading of the entire article if I excerpt this segment, Vare's closing paragraphs, describing how Kelly spoke of bravery shortly before he was killed:

The quality that Mike aspired to was not fearlessness but bravery—which, as he told his young sons, was doing the right thing in spite of your fears. In a 1997 column called "The Fear of Death"—which paid homage to a small band of Bosnian resistance fighters, and which now seems poignantly prophetic—Mike defined what was for him the quintessential test of character. "Accepting death [is] indispensable to defeating death," he wrote. "We [Americans] are a nation in which there are fewer and fewer people ... who accept what every twelve-year-old [in Bosnia] knows: That there are things worth dying for."

Six years later he elaborated on this theme in a radio interview he gave just before he died.

"One of the things I found out [in the Gulf War], which is quite interesting personally, is that people, at least men—I don't know about women—... go to great lengths in life to not find out the answer to the question, How brave am I? War presents you with specific opportunities to find out the answer to that question ... The question is asked for you and answered for you, in front of you and in front of other people. It's interesting, because you see it in all the people around you and you see it in yourself. And that's knowledge you have for the rest of your life."

Here's a Wizblog post from April 4, 2003, honoring one of my favorite journalists.

Posted by dan at March 17, 2004 10:51 PM