What Is Courage?

Tuesday night we did the show from New York and, as always, it is great to see the staff. Most of the staff works out of New York and I never get to see them. I also got to see others (I took a picture of Shep in the make up chair that I intend to use as blackmail... actually I think I will put it in the blog later in the week!)

I made the trip so that I could interview Senator John McCain (search) in person about his new book -- rather than interview him via satellite. His new book is about courage. I pointed out that in the book he neglected to include a story about his own courage. I don't know if you know this, but a short time after he was shot down in Vietnam and taken as a prisoner of war, he was offered the chance to be released and to go home. Senator McCain's father had been named head of the U.S. forces in the Pacific and the North Vietnamese wanted to release Senator McCain as part of a propaganda routine. Senator McCain declined, refusing the chance to go home ahead of the other POWs and instead remained a prisoner (including getting beaten often) for another three plus years. To me, that is a great example of courage.

After I mentioned this on air, we went to break. Senator McCain and I talked more off camera about his decision to stay behind with the other POWs and he told me that he thought that if he had gone home ahead of the other POWs and taken advantage of the opportunity floated to him, that he didn't think he would be alive today. In other words, that he could not live with himself if he had deserted the other POWs. I don't know if you are a Republican or a Democrat, but you have to admire him for his courage. I wonder how many of the rest of us would show such courage.

And, speaking of books, remember mine? I was -- to put it lightly -- lousy at the "selling" part of it. I enjoyed the writing part, but not the selling part. But, alas, one viewer (his name is Louie) sent me the following picture. And my message to him is, "Louie: many, many, many thanks!"

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