Essay by thegizHigh School, 11th gradeA, September 2005

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I heard the word many times before in my life, but this time my dad said it to me as me as something I lack. "Son, you aint got no courage? Did I raise you like that?" At that moment, as I heard those words I wiped the tears from my face, turned my back from my parents, handed my boarding pass to the strange lady dressed in blue walked into a towering white and gray tube with wings on the side. Strange adult men in navy blue suits and adult women dressed in navy blue welcomed me on and wished me a good flight. My sister and I flew from Oakland to Seattle alone, no parents, no adults, no aunts no uncles, just my sister and me. The flight took off smooth and landed smooth, but the taking off, flying and landing was not the important part, I had conquered my fear of flying without my mom's hand to squeeze when the plane shook unexpectedly.

As me and my sister exited the plane, the captain stopped me and took his "wings pin" off his navy blue vest and handed it to me and said "these wings are for your courage on this flight."

What defines courage? What makes one courageous? Selfless acts, daring stunts, stepping out of the norm, standing up for what you believe in, what is a courageous action? Today courageous people act out acts of courage everyday, a soldier in Iraq, a fireman running in a smoking house, a cigarette smoker dropping the habit, a person protesting, all these people have courage to do what they do, most people could not do what they do.

My grandmother on my dad's side housed Filipino immigrants at her house, dozens at a time until they could go out...