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Character
As defined by 1951 Government Manual

As we celebrate those who sacrificed in World War II by raising a memorial in Washington, D.C., it is useful to remember what kind of people these Americans were. The following description of 'character' from a military training manual tells us much more than simply what character is, and how to train a fighting force. It tells us how our government used to think, and how it related to the religious traditions of the people of the United States.

The Naval Officers Manual
A Ready Reference to Helpful Information and Counsel for
All Officers of the United States Navy and the Marine Corps


By Rear Admiral Harley Cope
July, 1951

Chapter VII: Leadership

Character
Assuming that there are three officers each of whom respects, and is respected, by a group of men, what qualities will one possess that will inspire the men to look upon him as their leader? They will lean toward the one officer possessing the strongest character. By character is meant integrity, courage, morality, humility, and unswerving determination. Character is a spiritual force. It is a reflection of a man's grip upon himself, the degree to which he is able to dominate the baser instincts that beset us all.

Because men know that the conquest of one's own weaknesses is a far, far more difficult task than any other, they tend to believe that he who can conquer himself, can also conquer whatever problem is at hand. That is why, in civilian life, the masses look to a man of character to lead them.

Your first job, then, is to learn to know your own weaknesses and conquer them. Our fears are a key to our weakness, because we fear only the things which we feel we cannot do well. We all have fears. Force yourself to conquer and to face squarely every situation you are afraid to meet. It is not being afraid but running away that weakens character. When you have accomplished this, you will have developed character.

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