Nullius Pavet Occursum

I was raised in a military family.  In fact, four generations of my family have served in all branches of the military.  While my father, the colonel, did not push the military life on his children, we were surrounded by all of the tradition and symbolism.  And I have to say, I love a lot of the symbolism.

Every squad, platoon, company, battalion, regiment, corps – every division or unit of any type will have insignias, flags, banners, badges, ribbons, medals, patches, pins, cufflinks, and challenge coins.  All of these will have various symbols, animals, or crests, and they frequently have Latin phrases on them.

One of my favorite unit insignias is from the 7th Air Defense Artillery Regiment.  It is described as being a gold metal and enamel device consisting of a panther in a walking position facing forward with fire emitting from its mouth and ears.  I love the symbolism of fire, that primal energy of life.  And you have to respect the stealth and skill of the panther, its bravery and all of its physical might.

The Latin phrase on the insignia is “Nullius Pavet Occursum.”

The motto translates to: “He [or she] Fears No Encounter.”  I like that saying.  And I like it a lot more than the more commonly used Latin aphorism, Carpe diem, or “Seize the Day.”  Here’s why.

Seizing the day implies making use of the day, or the time in the day.  That could have a powerful meaning like seizing your destiny, or it could mean take out the trash – fill your time, be useful.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with being useful, but I like the broader vision of meeting each day, or night, head on, whatever is out there, be it person or mountain lion, or even the torturing of my brain and over-thinking, or challenging my body with a rugged trek through the wilderness, free of all fear.  I will fear no one.  Fear no situation.  Fear nothing that comes my way.

You see, freedom from fear allows us to experience everything.  Every step, every breath, every heartbeat.  If we are free of fear, we will not hesitate to take on a new experience, to meet a new person, to travel to a new destination, to tackle our mental barriers, to take risks so that we may grow.  Fear constricts a person’s world.  Freedom from fear expands it.

So powerful is the concept of freedom from fear that it was included as one of the four basic freedoms in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.  In that context, it meant freedom from war or the fear of obliteration, a noble aspiration indeed.

So, do more than seize your day, face every encounter, every challenge, every moment without fear.  Live!


Photo Credit:  I found this image on the Internet in the public domain. I could find no other attribution for it.  Unfortunately, it does not fill the space too well on a desktop and the last word is cut off, but the image is better on the mobile app.

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