One the truest statements you can make about a hero is that they would be the last person to describe themselves as such. Aside from a hero’s devotion to service above self, a hero’s second most endearing quality is their humility. However, as a society it is important for us to appreciate those people we know to be heroes.
One such person is New Hampshire’s own Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc. After 32 years of service to our country, a native son has returned home.
Out of his uniform, and knowing nothing about his impressive military pedigree, some might suggest Gen. Bolduc was unimposing. But that is merely another distinguishing feature of a hero, their uncanny capacity to appear normal, to look like the “common man.” That is because when you get down to it, most heroes look nothing like the Hollywood actors that portray them on film. They are in every essence, everyday people, which is reinforced in the case of Gen. Bolduc when you consider many who served with him dubbed him “Everyone’s General.” I have no doubt that if you were to ask Gen. Bolduc the one thing he is most proud of (regarding his military services), being called “Everyone’s General” would be near the top of that list.
Gen. Bolduc is not that much different from many of us, except for one conspicuous attribute, his devotion to duty. He is the embodiment of all those that have faithfully served this country, and still do so today. Our military heroes live beyond the spotlight, humble in the knowledge that they sacrificed much in the service of our nation. For as proud as Gen. Bolduc must be when he is referred to “Everyone’s General,” he also must carry the weight of his other nickname, “Captain America.”
One does not get a nickname such as Captain America without performing deeds most would label as fearless. One gets the nickname such as Captain America by putting others before one’s self, by living the words of Mark Twain, and believing “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” For as many medals and ribbons that bear out both of Gen. Bolduc’s nicknames, it is the hidden scars that also reflect his commitment to our country and those that served in the military. Gen. Bolduc may have hung up his uniform, but he still holds true to his personal leadership mantra, “Mission, People, Family.” His new mission may be his most important, to help bring awareness, dispel the misconception, and work on solutions for those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Knowing what I know about Gen. Bolduc, I could think of no better person to help lead the efforts to help those that are dealing with PTSD.
As I said, out of uniform, Gen. Bolduc is unimposing. In uniform, especially for those of us who served, there can be no doubt that he has had to face fear and overcome it, but that he also bears the pain of battle. He is the recipient of so many awards there is hardly an empty space on his uniform. Each one of these ribbons and awards are a declaration of commitment, a proclamation of faith, honor, and duty to country. However, there is a price to pay when you are “Captain America.” For Gen. Bolduc the matter of PTSD is a personal one. One of his most courageous acts was to publicly acknowledge he struggles every day with PTSD.
Gen. Bolduc will be the first one to tell you those who are dealing with PTSD are not broken, and those who must deal with the effects of PTSD are not looking for a handout, but for us as nation to acknowledge, as the well-known unattributed quote goes: “A veteran is someone who, at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America, for an amount up to and including their life.”
Gen. Bolduc is helping to lead the effort to make good on our commitment to our veterans and their families, asking each of us to embrace his mantra, “Mission, People, Family.”
Just a kid from Laconia, who now lives on the Seacoast. Just a kid with five Bronze Stars (with Valor), Army Commendation Medal (with Valor), two Purple Hearts, Defense Service Medal, Defense Superior Medal, moving through the ranks from private to general, and 32 years of devotion to his troops and our country has earned Gen. Bolduc the right to be heard. However, we as a nation must open our minds to the message.
I have no doubt Gen. Bolduc will probably dislike this article. Heroes hate the spotlight, you know, that whole humility thing. But looking around our world, today more than ever we need heroes such as Gen. Bolduc. New Hampshire should be proud such a person as Gen. Bolduc calls New Hampshire home. We should be even more proud he still wakes up every morning ready to serve, because what Captain America does is never quit until the mission is accomplished.
Read more about Gen. Bolduc at http://nyti.ms/2DYTang.