A brief poem by William Ernest Henley, 1849-1903, sums up a fundamental foundation of character; Be the man you can be, rise to the occassion, no matter what the time or the fashion. You will have your dignity.
I do not know who he was writing about but history is full of remarkable people who fit this description. Is it a passenger on a hijacked aircraft, or a leader of a nation? Is it an impoverished parent, or an aristocrat who gives up his life vest to a mother and child on a doomed ocean liner?
The world is full of opportunity for compromise and taking an easier path. These often serve virtues as well; humility, discretion, empathy. Failure to address the issue is also an option.
But sometimes enough is enough. A man has to stand for something, lest he be forgotten easily.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods that be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.