“Do you actually think the fact that you know how to program a computer makes you more of a human being than me? That I’m out of touch because I don’t know what you know? I know what freedom is. I know what it feels like to fight for it and I know what it costs to have it. You know compromise.” —Steve Rogers to Tony Stark, Civil War: The Confession
Once upon a time there was a little girl who dreamed of doing magnificent things with her life. All she wanted was to wear the Air Force blue and serve her country with nobility. Sometimes, though, life has a way of taking dreams and breaking them apart. The little girl found out she had asthma and the door to the world of the military slammed shut. Fast forward several years and you will find this little girl a grown woman now. She’s been to college, has a job, and sometimes studies WWII in her spare time. Even so, she remembers those distant childhood dreams. She knew she wasn’t the only person to be told “No, you can’t” by the military, but her own personal loss still hurt.
Then one day, abruptly and unexpectedly, she discovered Captain America, a “superhero.” Why was he any different from so many others? She struggled to put into words what normally was only the deepest of feelings. Maybe it was because he was rejected from enlistment due to asthma, amongst other things. Perhaps it was because all he dreamed about was serving his country. It was like déjà vu. So she went to see the film, after months of waiting. And there in the theater, she handed over her burden of feeling inadequate to one of the USA’s greatest symbols: Captain America.
Steve Rogers started out his journey as a scrawny ninety pound asthmatic, determined to join the military and continually rejected. All it took was one person with the right connections to see the integrity inside of Rogers and give him the passing stamp. This person, Dr. Abraham Erskine, was in charge of creating an elite force of “super soldiers” for the army. Out of all the men in the small test unit Rogers struggled the most with military exercises but never allowed it to dampen his military spirit. His intelligence and politeness spoke to Dr. Erskine, who believed Rogers was the best candidate. Someone who begins his journey as a good man is more likely to finish the race as a good man. The army didn’t need another bully. Although the military was displeased with the doctor’s choice, Rogers was put into a machine after receiving special injections in his major muscle groups. And surprisingly, the experiment worked.
And so began the life of Captain America, the emblem of freedom and justice to adults and children during the 1940’s. Able to run faster and jump higher than any athletic normal human, Steve Rogers defied life as he wielded his star-spangled shield against the evil of the world.
Unlike other superheroes from that time, Captain America represented a way of life, he told people not to be limited to what people expected but to reach for even greater things, higher goals. He told them to stand up and say “I can do this, regardless of my history, size, or ailment.” He was a light shining across America.
The credits roll. The lights turn on in the theater. The once-little girl brushes away a tear from her eye. Captain America may fight evil on the global level but he fights smaller, far more personal battles for the everyday man and woman. She knows and feels that he has given some amount of release and freedom for those who are soldiers in their hearts but not in their bodies. May God Bless Captain America. ♦
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Caitlin Horton is a 20-something reader, seamstress, and history buff. She lives a life blessed in the knowledge that she is God’s child, and her life has a purpose within the scope of His plan. She encourages her readers to remember, every day can be like Bilbo’s “adventure” if you’re willing to take the “ordinary” and add some “extra” in front of it! She also blogs about her crafts!