Duty, Honor, Nothing | ZeroHedge

Authored by ‘Citizen Soldier’ via RealClear Wire,

My father remembers a trip with my grandfather to the U.S. Military Academy in the early 1960s to watch a baseball game. They loved the game, but what struck my grandfather, who served in the Pacific during World War II, was something else.

“Watch how they sprint on and off the field,” he said. “Every inning. The best player and the worst. Whatever the score.”

I don’t know whether the boys at West Point still sprint on and off the athletic fields. I bet they do. Their generals and the politicians, however, are running in the wrong direction.

West Point is dropping “Duty, Honor, Country” from its mission statement, to be replaced with the nebulous phrase, “Army Values.” Superintendent Lt. Gen. Steve Gilland said “Duty, Honor, Country” would remain West Point’s “motto.”

But “motto” is not mission, which declares what a unit is and does. Troops live and die for the mission. No “motto” could ever mean so much.

West Point leadership wants us not to be alarmed. Just trust the process, they say. The “process” – apparently of erasure and reinvention – began two years ago with removal of plaques and images of Robert E. Lee in favor of “appropriate language and images,” as Gilland described them.

So here we are, further stripping away the tradition and rigor that defined West Point.

In contemporary America, life in power seems dedicated not to responsibility but self-interest. Authority figures and thought leaders specialize in manipulating opinions, bullying us into using certain words, canceling history, placing certain ideas above others. Their eyes are big, their minds addled by attention and praise, their demands absolute.

Such a culture is contemptuous of and disdains tradition. So-called leaders are energized by tearing down tradition, making more room for monuments to their own era and outsized egos.

Tweak the colors.

Change the fonts.

Replace time-honored words for something new, something soft, something “appropriate.”

This is not to say I doubt the patriotism of Lt. Gen. Gilland, and others like him. Gilland has given more than 40 years of service to the Army. He and many other soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are the best of us.

Which is why we urge him to pick his head up and look around, remember that leading is more than just keeping your head down as you navigate the career minefield, hoping to survive, praying that playing along will secure the next rank.

To those at the top, I say this:

Words gain their meaning through generations of commitment, sacrifice and faith.




These are the words that define us—throw them away at our own peril.

Citizen Soldier believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


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