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“Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”

By Dezimon Alicea, Gary Crusader

Webster’s definition of the word “fear” is simple, yet loaded. It is, “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.”

In my time on this earth, I have seen fear take an individual and hold them hostage against their own will. Fear is a paralyzer, making the person motionless and unable to respond logically to the external situations around them. When afraid, people can make mistakes that lead to greater tragedies.

Fear is no stranger to America. In 1933, during Franklin Roosevelt’s inauguration speech, he spoke the now infamous phrase “The only thing to fear, is fear itself.” His words were in reference to the Great Depression, a crippling financial situation caused by the stock market crash, that the nation was facing at the time.

During this time many families were displaced because of the stock market crash. As Roosevelt was coming into office, he was coming into an atmosphere of worry, doubt, pacifism and a constant reminder of the economic strength the nation had in days past. It is fair to say that fear of the future was a very prevalent emotion.

Roosevelt’s words, although comforting, could be seen as hard to grasp by an already crippled nation.

America faced fear a second time, not in the form of a crashing stock market, but in the form of a military strike. The U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, in the Hawaiian Territory, was attacked by the Imperial Japanese Air Service. Over 2,000 Americans were killed as a result of this attack; this air strike would be the precursor into World War II.

The nation would again find itself in a seat with fear on the morning of September 11th, 2001. The Islamic terrorist group, Al-Queda, launched four coordinated attacks on U.S. soil killing close to 3,000 people and injuring 6,000 others.

But fear isn’t an emotion that only affects Americans; all across the world people are being introduced and reintroduced to the element of fear. The element of fear does not change, however, the way we respond to fear can change. Some respond to fear by perpetuating and spreading more fear. Some cower, and retreat as a way to deal with the fear brought to them. But, responsiveness in the face of fear is important to the success and victory we will have over fear.

Just last week, in Manchester, England a mass bombing claimed the lives of 22 people. What do we say in times like these? Many countries, states and cities are calling for stronger safety measures, as they should, but the battle will not be won on the ground, nor will the battle be won in the air.

The battle against terror is a mental one.

I am not saying at all that we should not consider the measures necessary to ensure our protection and safety as a people. But we should also consider our minds and thoughts when it comes to moments like these. If attackers can get into our thoughts, if they can somehow penetrate our day to day behaviors and force us into a state of fear, the battle has already been won.

Your mind is your greatest weapon, and once that has been tampered with you’ve walked into a losing battle. We cannot allow ourselves to nestle in fear of the unknown; that type of life is not fulfilling nor is it gratifying.

So what should we do in these trying times? How should we respond to the threats of terror, near and far? How do we respond to the impending danger that seems prevalent in our schools, in our homes and in our places of worship? We live. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” What exactly does that mean? It lets us know that in spite of what surrounds us, our courage- to live, love and coexist- will do away with the looming threat of fear.

Dezimon Alicea is a contributor for the Gary Crusader, entrepreneur in Gary, IN and host of a weekly radio show on WGVE 88.7fm called “In The Studio”. To learn more about Dezimon and his involvement in the area, visit his website at

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