August 22 ~  Success of Our Lives West Point: Two Centuries of Honor

"The success of our lives will be written in your deeds." ~ H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Sr., in a letter to his son on his 10th birthday.


Military leader General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. (1934-2012) was born on this day in Trenton, New Jersey. "Stormin' Norman" is best known for swiftly leading U.S. forces to victory over Iraq in 1991's Operation Desert Storm.

The operation, just 100 hours of ground combat, liberated the Kuwaitis from Iraqi occupation with minimal casualties.

"War is a profane thing," he once said.

For Schwarzkopf, the victory did not come easily. "It is a tortuous process coming up with decisions that involve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. It's not that simple," he explained.

A West Point graduate and Vietnam Vet, he coordinated the American invasion of Grenada in 1983. His combat heroics earned him the reputation as an officer who would risk his life for his soldiers, Schwarzkopf, "The Bear," led with vision, confidence, and optimism.

His charisma captured the imagination of the world. When he returned home a hero in 1991, New York gave him a ticker tape parade of nearly five million well-wishers and 200 miles.

"It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle," he candidly told Barbara Walters in a television interview. "It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle."

After his retirement, the general battled and beat a new enemy... prostate cancer. He became a national spokesman and used his fame to raise public awareness and generate hope for others.

He explained that when he learned he had cancer, his successful strategy for survival was knowing that others survived, too.

"When placed in charge," said the articulate leader, "take control."

There is something heroic in every person.