A Good Day to Die

Written by: Jim Stovall


I remember as a young boy watching many cowboy and Indian movies.  Today I realize that most of those movies were more Hollywood fiction than historical fact.  However, there's one quote I remember being repeated many times that has stayed with me to this day.  In a lot of Western movies involving Sioux Indians facing a battle with either another tribe, the U.S. Cavalry, or a group of settlers, a Lakota Sioux brave or chief was often quoted as saying, "It's a good day to die."  I never really understood that statement as, on it's face, it seemed pessimistic or counterproductive to be said by someone going into battle. 

Recently, I was doing some research about Native Americans for a book and movie project, and I ran across that famous quote, but the historian offered an explanation that I believe is relevant to you and me.  Lakota Sioux braves prepared themselves for battle by covering all the bases in their lives.  If they owed anyone anything, they covered their debts before the battle began.  If they needed to apologize to anyone for anything, they did so before the fighting started.  They made a point of telling all of their friends and family that they loved them before the conflict commenced, and most importantly, Lakota Sioux braves strove to live their lives with no regrets.

You and I will have more successful and satisfying lives if we simply pay our debts, apologize when we're wrong, and tell those we care about that we love them.  But maybe the most significant lesson we can learn from the Sioux braves is to live our lives today, here in the 21st century, without regrets.  

Life is a day-to-day proposition.  If you have things in your life that are left unsaid or undone, this is not a good day for you to die. While none of us want to die today, I realize that there are countless people around the world reading these words in newspapers, magazines, and online publications.  Many of them will come to the end of their life far sooner than they expect and a few of them may exit this life today.  The obituaries are filled with people who thought they had decades yet to live.  

Yesterday is a cancelled check that has no value.  Tomorrow is a promissory note that may or may not pay off.  Today is cash, and we must spend it wisely.  Only then, will we understand that it's much more important how we live than when we die.  

As you go through your day today, plan to live forever but make today a good day to die. 

Today's the day!

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