As I went through the war, it was natural to ask myself:
Why am I here?
Why am I putting up with the freezing cold, the constant rain, and the loss of so many comrades?
Does anybody care?
A soldier faces death on a daily basis and his life is one of misery and deprivation. He is cold; he suffers from hunger, frequently bordering on starvation. The impact of seeing those people behind that fence [in the concentration camp] left me saying, if only to myself:
Now I know why I am here! For the first time I understand what this war is all about.”
Under high pressure it is normal to ask ourselves exactly the same questions as Winters did in the middle of the Second World War:
Why am I here?
Why do I subject myself to this pressure; to this stress?
Why don’t I quit – right here, right now?
If you are unprepared for these situations, you won’t have answer. Your conviction will waver. You’ll likely quit.
This is one of the reasons why it is important to know what you want to do with your life and what everything you do contributes to. It’s this clarity of vision that prepares you to answer such difficult questions as “Why am I here?”.
This clarity will make an important difference between success and failure; between putting one foot in front of the other and between quitting altogether.
Maybe it is one of the most important questions to have an answer to.
Dick Winters, Beyond Band of Brothers, p 215. ↩︎