In my play “Life with Stewart”, Nicholas Stewart, an aged Hollywood movie star, is asked to deliver again his famous speech as the unforgettable protagonist Wellesly Green from the movie “Surrender has no Tomorrow”. (Of course, all of this is fictional.) So imagine a staggering figure, clad in battle gear, trying to rally his comrades to continue fighting against insurmountable odds in order to stave off certain death. Here is the monologue in its entirety.
Character. That is what stands between us and our destiny. Each of us has sacrificed much to arrive at this point; the battered souls we are would give up the fight if it was merely up to us. If we were only flesh and blood, only here and now, only eyes and ears, surely we would not insist on pushing forward. For our eyes witness odds that our hearts cannot derive courage from. Our ears hear not any reassurance to continue fighting, but only weakness and bickering, coming from our tired, cowardly jaws – the ones we earned by witnessing too much death and experiencing too much despair. Yes, our eyes and ears reveal how human we have become, how cold our flesh feels, and how much colder our blood may soon be. But history reminds us that we are not only flesh and blood. We are not only here and now. We are not only eyes and ears. We are made of more, much more. Time has poured its tired hands into our being, strengthening us with wisdom gleamed from a thousand souls who came before us. Those who knew us and loved us. Those we never knew but influenced the mechanisms of support that we have come to live by. Our character has been built by the sacrifices of these and others who lived their lives and suffered their deaths for our survival. If we extinguish the flickering flame of hope that the winds of fear are ferociously trying to snuff out, then we are not worthy to be called the sons or daughters of the ones that came before us. As the poet Asophie said, “When a pebble dropped in a vast sea splashes beyond its capacity, crashing barriers that were never meant to be crossed, all that one is left with is the realization that the pebble was no small stone and the causality is no one’s fault but your own.” If we die, then we shall be at fault. If we live, then we too shall be the cause of that. As for me, I choose life. What choose you?