As the story goes…
The day Billy Peachtree graduated from high school was the best day of his life. It was a great day because it meant he could finally join the Army which was something he’d been waiting to do ever since he was a small boy. Yet, his parents were very concerned because Billy was never very coordinated, or strong, or fast, and he had bad eyesight so he had to wear really thick glasses.
None of that concerned Billy however as he made his childhood dream come true by joining the Army as fast as he could. Then before he knew it he was standing in a line with the rest of his recruitment class in front of their Drill Sergeant on the first day of boot camp.
The Drill Sergeant was a very firm, ultra-disciplined, yet fair man who treated each recruit exactly the same as he put them through the paces of physical and mental endurance.
As the weeks rolled by boot camp proved to be difficult for Billy. He fell off the climb wall, he got tangled up in barbwire on the obstacle course, he bounced out of the jeep during a hard turn, he tripped and rolled down a steep hill during a late night run, a stray bullet grazed his leg during a shooting drill, he got bit by a night watch dog, and he had by far the most sunburn, poison ivy, and wood splinters than anyone else in his recruitment class. But each time he was knocked down he kept getting up without a word and pushing forward.
Then the day everyone was dreading arrived. It was hand-to-hand combat day. The Drill Sergeant put small boxing gloves on everyone and told them to make a circle. Then he would call out two names and those recruits would entire the circle and fight it out until there was a clear winner.
After a few rounds Billy’s name hadn’t been called and he noticed that Brock Taylor who was the biggest and baddest recruit in the class had also not been called. Then as Billy was saying a silent prayer to not be called to fight against Brock he heard both names shouted out by the Drill Sergeant, “PEACHTREE – TAYLOR!”
Billy entered the circle without saying a word and was immediately pummeled until he fell. But he got right back up and requested to fight some more. Quickly he absorbed a few more punches and soon found myself on the ground again. Yet, he got right back up and this time he went after Brock with a flurry of punches. He even landed a few which made Brock mad and this time he hit Billy as hard as he could square in the jaw – BAM! Time seemed to stand still for a moment and then there was a collective groan from the onlookers as Billy fell into unconsciousness even before he hit the ground. Then as he was laying there everyone thought for a second that Billy was dead.
Nonetheless moments later Billy opened his eyes and struggled to his feet as he cleared the fog from his head, steadied himself, and raised his fists for another go at it against Brock. The onlookers as well as Brock were frozen in place by the sight of Billy now bleeding from the mouth yet prepared to continue. That’s when the Drill Sergeant shouted, “Enough. Everyone back the barracks.”
Back at the barracks Billy was tending to his now severely swollen face when he heard the Drill Sergeant call him into his office.
Once in the office the Drill Sergeant said, “Peachtree, I’ve been a Drill Sergeant at this base for 25 years and I know what makes a great soldier. It’s not about coordination, or strength, or speed. It’s about wanting to be a great soldier. It’s about never complaining. It’s about always getting back up. It’s about feeling the pain, and experiencing the fear, and pressing forward anyway.
There’s plenty of recruits here who like the Army, but you LOVE the Army, and it shows. That’s why I’m making you Captain of your recruitment class. Congratulations.”
Billy was overcome with pride as he spoke, “Thank you Drill Sergeant. I will be the best recruitment class Captain I can be. I will make you proud.”
The Drill Sergeant smiled to himself, put his hand on Billy’s shoulder and said, “I know you will, because you already do what we train everyone to eventually do.”
“What’s that,” Billy asked.
The Drill Sergeant replied, “No matter what happens, you’re always standing up on the inside.”
MORAL OF THE STORY: When you stand up on the inside even if you get knocked down you will get right back up again. That’s how you become the best you can be. Always get back up.
How The Army Nearly Killed Billy Peachtree
– Written by Motivational Joe