Inspirational Words

General MacArthur’s Duty, Honor, Country Speech to the West Point Corps of Cadets

On May 12, 1962, Five Star U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Sylvanus Thayer Award and delivered a remarkable speech to the corps of cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Since 1958, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy has presented the Sylvanus Thayer Award to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”

 General MacArthur’s speech ranks with President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address as the most moving and greatest public speeches ever given. The entire text of the speech appears below, but I highly recommend that you listen to the audio of General MacArthur’s actual speech.  After you hear the General’s actual speech reread the text of the speech to get the full impact of the spoken words. MacArthur was 82 years old when he gave the speech. He spoke without notes for 34 minutes from the “poop deck” in front of the 2,100+ cadets.

 This speech by one of our country’s greatest military leaders (see below after the end of the speech text for a short list of the incredible accomplishments of the MacArthur family) is timeless and as important today as it was in 1962. Many Americans have devoted their lives to following the ideals of “duty, honor and country,” and too many have made the ultimate sacrifice so that the United States may enjoy freedom and prosperity.

Duty Honor Country

General Westmoreland, General Groves, distinguished guests, and gentlemen of the Corps. As I was leaving the hotel this morning, a doorman asked me, “Where are you bound for, General?” and when I replied, “West Point,” he remarked, “Beautiful place, have you ever been there before?”

No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this, coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well. It fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily for a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code — the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. That is the meaning of this medallion. For all eyes and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride and yet of humility which will be with me always.

“Duty,” “Honor,” “Country” — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world’s noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.

His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast.

But when I think of his patience under adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.

In twenty campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand campfires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.

From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs of the glee club, in memory’s eye I could see those staggering columns of the First World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through mire of shell-pocked roads; to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many, to the judgment seat of God.

I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood and sweat and tears as we sought the way and the truth and the light.

And twenty years after, on the other side of the globe, against the filth of dirty foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of the relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation of those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropic disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.

Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory — always victory, always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of Duty, Honor, Country.

The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral laws and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the uplift of mankind. Its requirements are for the things that are right, and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training – sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.

You now face a new world, a world of change. The thrust into outer space of the satellite, spheres and missiles marked the beginning of another epoch in the long story of mankind – the chapter of the space age. In the five or more billions of years the scientists tell us it has taken to form the earth, in the three or more billion years of development of the human race, there has never been a greater, a more abrupt or staggering evolution. We deal now not with things of this world alone, but with the illimitable distances and as yet unfathomed mysteries of the universe. We are reaching out for a new and boundless frontier. We speak in strange terms: of harnessing the cosmic energy; of making winds and tides work for us; of creating unheard synthetic materials to supplement or even replace our old standard basics; of purifying sea water for our drink; of mining ocean floors for new fields of wealth and food; of disease preventatives to expand life into the hundred of years; of controlling the weather for a more equitable distribution of heat and cold, of rain and shine; of space ships to the moon; of the primary target in war, no longer limited to the armed forces of an enemy, but instead to include his civil populations; of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all time.

And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purpose, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishments; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.

Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the Nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be Duty, Honor, Country.

Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men’s minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the Nation’s war guardians, as its lifeguards from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiators in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.

Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.

These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.

You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the Nation’s destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.

The long gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: Duty, Honor, Country.

This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished — tone and tints. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.

In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: Duty, Honor, Country.

Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the Corps, and the Corps, and the Corps.

I bid you farewell.

Read what some former West Point cadets remember of that day in May when the General gave the speech.

MacArthur Family Accomplishments

  •  1862 Arthur MacArthur Jr. (Douglas MacArthur’s father) commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Union Army
  • 1863 Arthur MacArthur Jr. wins the Congressional Medal of Honor
  • 1864 Arthur MacArthur Jr. at age 19 becomes the youngest full Colonel in the Union Army
  • 1870 Arthur MacArthur Sr. (Douglas MacArthur’s grandfather) appointed federal judge by President Grant
  • 1898 General Arthur MacArthur Jr. fights in the Spanish American War
  • 1900 Arthur MacArthur Jr. becomes military governor of the Philippines
  • 1903 Douglas MacArthur graduates first in his class at West Point with an overall average surpassed only by Robert E. Lee.
  • 1906 Douglas MacArthur appointed an aid to President Roosevelt
  • 1914 Douglas MacArthur recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor for spying behind enemy lines in Vera Cruz, Mexico, during a time when the U.S. and Mexico contemplated war
  • 1918 Commanding the Rainbow Division of the U.S. Army in France during World War I, Douglas MacArthur becomes a Brigadier General and is awarded nine medals for heroism
  • 1919 Douglas MacArthur becomes superintendent of West Point
  • 1925 Douglas MacArthur serves on the court martial of Billy Mitchell
  • 1930 Douglas MacArthur appointed Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army
  • 1936 Douglas MacArthur becomes Field Marshall of the Philippines
  • 1937 Douglas MacArthur retires from the Army
  • 1941 President Roosevelt recalls Douglas MacArthur from retirement to active duty as commander of the U.S. Far East Command
  • 1942 Congress awards Douglas MacArthur the Medal of Honor for his leadership of U.S. forces on Bataan and Corregidor
  • 1944 Douglas MacArthur becomes a five star general
  • 1945 Douglas MacArthur accepts the surrender of Japan and signs the articles of surrender for the U.S. at a ceremony held on the U.S. Missouri battleship
  • 1946 As the Supreme Commander Allied Powers, Douglas MacArthur began his five year rule of 83 million Japanese and writes the Japanese constitution modeled after the U.S. constitution
  • 1950 United Nations appoints Douglas MacArthur its first U.N. commander to direct U.N. forces in the Korean War
  • 1950 Despite many who advised against it, Douglas MacArthur plans and executes his greatest military victory, the invasion of U.N. forces at Inchon at a time when the North Korean army occupied all of South Korea except a small pocket of land on the southern tip of the peninsula. The invasion snatched victory from the jaws of defeat cutting off supplies to the North Korean army in all of South Korea, which allowed the U.N. to recapture the entire country.
  • 1951 Douglas MacArthur retires again from the Army
  • 1964 Douglas MacArthur advises President Johnson to stay out of Vietnam.

MacArthur Video

The following 28 minute video was made by the U.S. Army about the life and military career of General MacArthur.  It is narrated by CBS newsman Walter Cronkite.

To learn more about General Douglas MacArthur

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

President Lincoln delivered the following speech on November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the military battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow, this ground — The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

President Lincoln’s Letter to Lydia Bixby

On learning that Lydia Bixby’s five sons in the Union Army were killed in action in the Civil War, President Lincoln wrote Mrs. Bixby the following letter in his own hand.

Executive Mansion Washington
Nov. 21, 1864

To Mrs. Bixby,
Boston, Mass.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Major Sullivan Ballou’s Last Letter to His Wife

A week before the Civil War Battle of Bull Run Sullivan Ballou, a Major in the Second Rhode Island Volunteers, wrote home to his wife in Smithfield.

July 14, 1861

Sara Ballou
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sara,

The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days, perhaps tomorrow. Less I shall not be able to write you again, I feel compelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.

Our movement may be one of a few days duration and full of pleasure — and it may be one of severe conflict and death to me. Not my will, but thine 0 God, be done. If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the revolution. I am willing, perfectly willing, to lay down all my joys in this life to help maintain this government and to pay that debt.

But, my dear wife, when I know that with my own joys I lay down nearly all of yours, and replace them in this life with cares and sorrows — when, after having eaten for long years the bitter fruit of orphanage myself, I must offer it as their only sustenance to my dear little children — is it weak or dishonorable, while the banner of my purpose floats calmly and proudly in the breeze, that my unbounded love for you, my darling wife and children, should struggle in fierce, though useless, contest with my love of country?

I cannot describe to you my feelings on this calm summer night, when two thousand men are sleeping around me, many of them enjoying the last, perhaps, before that of death — and I, suspicious that Death is creeping behind me with his fatal dart, am communing with God, my country, and thee.

I have sought most closely and diligently, and often in my breast, for a wrong motive in thus hazarding the happiness of those I loved and I could not find one. A pure love of my country and of the principles have often advocated before the people and “the name of honor that I love more than I fear death” have called upon me, and I have obeyed.

Sara, my love for you is depthless. It seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break. Yet my love of country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me. I feel most deeply grateful to God and you that I have enjoyed them for so long. How hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes our hopes and future years when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together and seen our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us. I have, I know, but few and small claims upon Divine Providence, but something whispers to me — perhaps it is the wafted prayer of my little Edgar — that I shall return to my loved ones unharmed. If I do not, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I love you, and when my last breath escapes me on the battlefield, it will whisper your name.

Forgive my many faults and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been. How gladly would I wash out with my tears every little spot upon your happiness, and struggle with all the misfortune of this world, to shield you and my children from harm. But I cannot. I must watch you from the spirit land and hover near you, while you buffet the storms with your precious little freight, and wait with sad patience till we meet to part no more. But, oh Sara, if the dead can come back to this earth and fly unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you on the brightest day and the darkest night. Always. Always. When the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath. When the cool air caresses your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sara, do not morn me dead. Think I am gone and wait for me. We shall meet again.

As for my little boys, they will grow as I have done, and never know a father’s love and care. Little Willie is too young to remember me long, and my blue-eyed Edgar will keep my frolics with him among the dimmest memories of his childhood. Sarah, I have unlimited confidence in your maternal care and your development of their characters. Tell my two mothers his and hers I call God’s blessing upon them. O Sarah, I wait for you there! Come to me, and lead thither my children.

Your loving husband,

Sullivan Ballou

A week after writing this letter, Major Ballou was killed at the first Battle of Bull Run.

Remember Me

by Lizzie Palmer

Near the end of November 2006, 15 year old Lizzie Palmer, a high school sophomore in Columbus, Ohio, used her artistic talents and modern technology to create an unforgettable video tribute to all of the brave men and women who serve and have served our country during a second time in American history when too many Americans wrongly and tragically believe they can support the troops, but not support the war they are fighting.

As of  February 5, 2012, the video had been viewed 30,687,173 times on YouTube and was its 18th most viewed video of all time. The images, text and music combine to create a powerful message that should be viewed by all Americans.

“I felt like there needed to be more support for our troops,” said Lizzie Palmer. “This video was my contribution.”

Chris Wallace’s Fox News Sunday showed the video on national TV. Chris Wallace said, “We had decided it was such a special, moving tribute to the troops, that you cannot watch it, no matter what you think of the war, and not be tremendously affected by her message. Uniformly, people’s reaction has been that they had never seen anything quite so special, quite so meaningful. It chokes me up just reading these e-mails.”

The background music is “Pacific Wind” by Ryan Farish.

Sgt. Michael Carlson: Son, Brother, Friend, Patriot & American Hero

United States Army Sergeant Michael Carlson, 22, died on January 24, 2005, in Mohammed Sacran, Iraq, when his Bradley fighting vehicle overturned. On May 11, 2000, while a senior in high school, Mike wrote an incredible essay. The Wall Street Journal published Mike’s essay on May 23, 2005, in which he said:

“I want to live forever; the only way that one could possibly achieve it in this day and age is to live on in those you have affected. I want to carve out a niche for myself in the history books. I want to be remembered for the things I accomplished.”

Mike will live on after his death with God and in the memory of the United States people. He affected me and I am sure he has affected and will affect others.

Mike is now a part of the history of the long grey line of the United States military. Sgt. Carlson and his contemporary brothers in arms have accomplished something historical that will not soon be forgotten. He and his comrades freed 50 million people in Iraq and Afghanistan, a feat that has never been accomplished in the history of mankind. Freedom for those countries has come at a great price with the blood and sacrifices of brave Americans like Michael Carlson.

The United States is a great country because of men and women like Mike Carlson. I sometimes ask myself, how is it possible that our country can produce people like Mike, Sgt. Daniel Clay and Pat Tillman? It is one thing to fight and die in your homeland when it is being attacked by an enemy, but to travel half way around the world to risk your life and possibly die for the people of another country you do not know is something done only by the noblest of men.

General Douglas MacArthur, in his “Duty, Honor, Country” speech given to the West Point corps of cadets on May 12, 1962, had this to say about soldiers of the United States Army like Mike:

“Duty, Honor, Country — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you want to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. . . . I regard [the U.S. soldier] now, as one of the world’s noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless. His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. . . . They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.”

Michael Carlson’s Credo Paper

I was born in Wisconsin. We lived in a town called Webster, on a road called Lavern Lane. Since then many things have changed, but many more remain the same. We no longer live in the country, we only go to church once or twice a year, and we no longer struggle to make ends meet. Today we live in the city, but we still have a Junk Yard, my dad still works 16 hours a day, everyday. Today I am a man not a seven-year-old child. There are still cars everywhere. We own over 90. About 20 of them still run and 12 of those we store in the city. No we don’t have a parking lot. What we do is borrow our neighbors unused stalls for fixing their cars and doing other little things for them.

I admire my Father more than any other person on this planet, not for being a mechanic, not for being a tough guy. I admire my father for his ambition. For 30 years he has gone to work everyday, for 30 years he has come home, gone to the garage and worked 10 more hours. I don’t know how he does it but I do know why. He does it for us. He wants my brother and me to have everything we need and most of what we want. Lots of people say that the best way to learn is by the example of others. Well, then I have one of the best teachers there is on how to be a man, how to treat others, and the work ethic. I mean he is not perfect by any means but is anyone really perfect! I think that he is pretty close.

Sometimes I wonder if my dad ever thought of college. I wonder if he’s happy. I sometimes even feel sorry for him. What I mean by that is that I look at him and see a guy that has spent his entire life working. That is what he does. He works. If my mom never brought up the idea of a vacation he would never think twice. He would work to the day he died. I love hard work, but how do you go to the same dead end job everyday knowing that you will be doing it forever.

Every now and then someone that had my dad fix their car will stop by and need something, and every time I talk to them they start talking about my dad’s work. They compliment him on paint jobs he did 20 years ago that still look like they are brand new. That reminds me of another trait I have taken from my dad besides my hard work ethic. “If you are going to do a job, do it right the first time, because a job not done well is a job not worth doing,” so the saying goes. I take that personally. If someone has an honest complaint about my workmanship, I will bend over backwards to make it right. If people are going to pay you good money to do something then you had better do a darn good job. That is why I usually work alone, then, if there is a problem I know whom I can blame.

My dad hasn’t taught me everything though, a lot of it I have learned on my own too. I still got a lot to learn still, but I have figured out things like how to deal with people you don’t like or those that don’t like you. I also learned why when cutting a frozen bagel you cut away from yourself, I got the scar to prove it. My dad calls this type of learning “the school of hard knocks.” Some of the knocks are harder than others.

I love sports. I love football, wrestling, weight lifting, skiing and hockey. I love the thrill of competition, the roar of the crowds, the agony on the faces of your opponents as the final seconds tick off the clock. However, I don’t want to do it as a profession. I think it would be fun for a while then it would get boring. I guess the point that I am trying to make is that when I am on my deathbed what am I going to look back on? Will it be 30 years of playing a game that in reality means nothing, or will it be 30 years of fighting crime and protecting the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

I want my life to account for something more than just a game. In life there are no winners, everyone eventually loses their life. I only have so much time; I can’t waste it with a game. I don’t want those close to me to look at me and tell me that I was good at a game. I want to be good at life; I want to be known as the best of the best at my job. I want people to need me, to count on me. I am never late; I am either on time or early. I want to help people. I want to fight for something, be part of something that is greater than myself. I want to be a soldier or something of that caliber, maybe a cop or a secret service agent.

I want to live forever; the only way that one could possibly achieve it in this day and age is to live on in those you have affected. I want to carve out a niche for myself in the history books. I want to be remembered for the things I accomplished. I sometimes dream of being a soldier in a war. In this war I am helping to liberate people from oppression. In the end there is a big parade and a monument built to immortalize us in stone. Other times I envision being a man you see out of the corner of your eye, dressed in black fatigues, entering a building full of terrorists. After everything is completed I slip out the back only to repeat this the next time l am called. I might not be remembered in that scenario, but I will have helped people.

I guess what I want most of all is to be a part of the real world, not an entertainer. I want to have an essential role in the big picture. I want adventure, challenge, danger, and most of all I don’t want to be behind a counter or desk. Maybe when I am a 100 years old I will slow down and relax. Till then, I have better things to do.

More About Sgt. Michael Carlson

Michael Carlson is the son of Merrilee and Daniel Carlson of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Sgt. Carlson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Visit Arlington’s web page with more information about Mike Carlson, including pictures.

SSgt. Daniel Clay’s Letter to His Family

U.S. Marine SSgt. Daniel Clay was killed in action in Iraq on December 1, 2005. Before leaving home for his second tour in Iraq, Sgt Clay left a letter with his family and an instruction to open the letter only in the event of his death. After Clay’s death, his father Bud wrote the following letter to President Bush:

December 7, 2005

President George Bush,

The White House,
Washington, DC.

DEAR PRESIDENT BUSH:

My name is Bud Clay. My son, SSgt Daniel Clay–USMC was killed last week, 12/01/05, in Iraq. He was one of the ten Marines killed by the IED in Fallujah.

Dan was a Christian–he knew Jesus as Lord and Savior–so we know where he is. In his final letter (one left with me for the family–to be read in case of his death) he says “if you are reading this, it means my race is over.” He’s home now–his and our real home.

I am writing to you–to tell you how proud and thankful we (his parents and family) are of you and what you are trying to do to protect us all. This was Dan’s second tour in Iraq–he knew and said that his being there was to protect us.

I want to encourage you. I hear in your speeches about “staying the course”. I also know that many are against you in this “war on Terror” and that you must get weary in the fight to do what is right. We and many others are praying for you to see this through–as Lincoln said, “that these might not have died in vain”.

You have a heavy load–we are praying for you.

God bless you,

BUD CLAY

Text of Sgt. Daniel Clay’s Letter to His Family

MOM, DAD, KRISTIE, JODIE, KIMBERLY, ROBERT, KATY, RICHARD, AND MY LISA:

Boy do I love each and every one of you. This letter being read means that I have been deemed worthy of being with Christ. With MaMa Jo, MaMa Clay, Jennifer …. all those we have been without for our time during the race. This is not a bad thing. It is what we hope for. The secret it out. He lives and His promises are real! It is not faith that supports this …. but fact and I now am a part of the promise. Here is notice! Wake up! All that we hope for is Real. Not a hope. But Real.

But here is something tangible. What we have done in Iraq is worth any sacrifice. Why? Because it was our duty. That sounds simple. But all of us have a duty. Duty is defined as a God given task. Without duty life is worthless. It holds no type of fulfillment. The simple fact that our bodies are built for work has to lead us to the conclusion that God (who made us) put us together to do His work. His work is different for each of us.

Mom, yours was to be the glue of our family, to be a pillar for those women (all women around you), Dad, yours was to train and build us (like a Platoon Sgt) to better serve Him. Kristie, Kim, Katy you are the five team leaders who support your Squad ldrs, Jodie, Robert and Richard. Lisa you too. You are my XO and you did a hell of a job. You all have your duties. Be thankful that God in His wisdom gives us work. Mine was to ensure that you did not have to experience what it takes to protect what we have as a family. This I am so thankful for. I know what honor is. It is not a word to be thrown around. It has been an Honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to. This is as close to Christ-like I can be. That emulation is where all honor lies. I thank you for making it worthwhile.

As a Marine this is not the last Chapter. I have the privilege of being one who has finished the race. I have been in the company of heroes. I now am counted among them. Never falter! Don’t hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.

Now here are my final wishes. Do not cry! To do so is to not realize what we have placed all our hope and faith in. We should not fear. We should not be sad. Be thankful. Be so thankful. All we hoped for is true. Celebrate! My race is over, my time in war zone is over. My trials are done. A short time separates all of us from His reality. So laugh. Enjoy the moments and your duty. God is wonderful.

I love each and every one of you.

Spread the word …. Christ lives and He is Real.

Semper Fidelis

Winston Churchill on War (Then and Now)

On Victory

“You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory, however long and hard the road may be. For without victory, there is no survival.” In a speech in the House of Commons, May 13, 1940.

On Appeasement

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Spoken in reference to arch-appeaser Neville Chamberlain.

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.”

On the Will to Fight

“If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds are against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.” From “The Gathering Storm.”

England at War

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

“Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.”

“Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”

“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.”

“We (the British) have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

“What kind of a people do they (Japan) think we are? Is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?”

“We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. We shall never surrender and even if, which I do not for the moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, will carry on the struggle until in God’s good time the New World with all its power and might, sets forth to the liberation and rescue of the Old.”

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.”

“We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea and air–war with all our might and with all the strength God has given us–and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.”

“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

John Stuart Mill on War

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”

John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873

Chief Tecumseh

“So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion.  Respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life.  Perfect your life.  Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long.  Its purpose is in the service of your people.

Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and bow to none.  When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, The fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no living thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over in a different way.  Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.”

United States Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas on Freedom & the Constitution

“Those in power need checks and restraints lest they come to identify the common good for their own tastes and desires, and their continuation in office as essential to the preservation of the nation.

As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.

Since when have we Americans been expected to bow submissively to authority and speak with awe and reverence to those who represent us?

The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.

It is better, so the Fourth Amendment teaches us, that the guilty sometimes go free than the citizens be subject to easy arrest.

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order, to efficiency of operation, to scientific advancement and the like.

The privacy and dignity of our citizens [are] being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen — a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a

life.

The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.

The framers of the constitution knew human nature as well as we do. They too had lived in dangerous days; they too knew the suffocating influence of orthodoxy and standardized thought. They weighed the compulsions for restrained speech and thought against the abuses of liberty. They chose liberty.

The Fifth Amendment is an old friend and a good friend. It is one of the great landmarks in men’s struggle to be free of tyranny, to be decent and civilized.

The struggle is always between the individual and his sacred right to express himself and…the power structure that seeks conformity, suppression and obedience.

The dominant purpose of the First Amendment was to prohibit the widespread practice of government suppression of embarrassing information.

A people who extend civil liberties only to preferred groups start down the path either to dictatorship of the right or the left.

The First Amendment makes confidence in the common sense of our people and in the maturity of their judgment the great postulate of our democracy.

Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.

The function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed best serve its high purpose when it invites a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it passes for acceptance of an idea.

The function of the prosecutor under the federal Constitution is not to tack as many skins of victims as possible against the wall. His function is to vindicate the rights of the people as expressed in the laws and give those accused of crime a fair trial.

It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.”

An Honest Confession by an American Coward

Pat Conroy, the author of “The Great Santini, “The Prince of Tides,” “The Lords of Discipline,” “Beach Music” and “My Losing Season,” regrets protesting the Vietnam War and not serving in the military.  I didn’t read the book, but I love The Great Santini movie starring Robert Duvall and Blythe Danner.  The movie is about a Marine F-4 driver and his relationship with his teenage son.  I suspect it is autobiographical because Pat Conroy’s father was a Marine F-4 pilot.

The article was prompted by an interview Pat Conroy did with his former Citadel basketball teammate Al Kroboth when Pat was doing research for a book he was writing about the team.  After college Al became a navigator flying the A-6 Intruder fighter bomber.  During a bombing mission over North Vietnam Al and his pilot, Major Leonard Robertson, were shot down.  Al does not know what happened to his pilot whose name is engraved on the Vietnam memorial in Washington, D.C.  Al was captured and became a prisoner of war.

Pat describes his anti-Vietnam war activities that he proudly championed while his friend struggled to survive in the Hanoi Hilton.

“Al, you know I was a draft dodger and antiwar demonstrator.  ‘That’s what I heard, Conroy,’ Al said. ‘I have nothing against what you did, but I did what I thought was right.’ . . . It was that same long night, after listening to Al’s story, that I began to make judgments about how I had conducted myself during the Vietnam War.  In the darkness of the sleeping Kroboth household, lying in the third-floor guest bedroom, I began to assess my role as a citizen in the ’60s, when my country called my name and I shot her the bird. . . . It had never once occurred to me that I would find myself in the position I did on that night in Al Kroboth’s house in Roselle, New Jersey: an American coward spending the night with an American hero.

Read the entire article.  It is excellent.

Anonymous

“The darkest places in Hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” — Anonymous.

 “I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted at their best; men who suffered and sacrificed together, who were stripped of their humanity. I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another. As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades. Such good men.” — Anonymous.

USAF Fighter Pilot Tom Cruise Wannabes

The commander of the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, Arizona, deserves a big pat on the back. Somebody who lives near Luke AFB wrote to the local paper complaining about a flight of four F-16 fighters that disturbed his/her day at the mall. The response from the squadron commander of the F-16 unit reminds all Americans of the sacrifices our military personnel are making daily for all of us.

The complaint:

“Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base. Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at precisely 9:11 A.M., a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying impress the cashiers at Mervyns’ early-bird special? Any response would be appreciated.”

The squadron commander’s response follows:

Regarding “A wake-up call from Luke’s jets” (Letters, Thursday): On June 15, at precisely 9:12 A.M., a perfectly timed four-ship flyby of F-16s from the 63rd Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt. Jeremy Fresques. Capt. Fresques was an Air Force officer who was previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day. At 9 am on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a husband, son and friend.

Based on the letter writer’s recount of the flyby, and because of the jet noise, I’m sure you didn’t hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave them their son’s flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women who understand the sacrifices they have endured. A four-ship flyby is a display of respect the Air Force pays to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers lining up to pay their ultimate respects.

The letter writer asks,” Whom do we thank for the morning air show?” The 56th Fighter Wing will call for you, and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.

Lt. Col. Scott Pleus
CO 63rd Fighter Squadron
Luke Air Force Base, Arizona

Captain Jeremy Fresques was a member of the United States Air Force Academy, class of 2001.

President Kennedy on the Survival of Liberty

President John F. Kennedy – 1961

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

President John Kennedy, inaugural address January 1961

Winston Churchill on Victory

“You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory, however long and hard the road may be. For without victory, there is no survival.” In a speech in the House of Commons, May 13, 1940.

Winston Churchill On the Will to Fight

“If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds are against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than live as slaves.”

Senator Edward M. (“Runaway”) Kennedy – 2007

“This is a defining moment for our country. The American people are watching. The world is watching. The issue is clear. Will we stand with our soldiers by changing their mission and beginning to bring them home? Or will we stand with the President and keep our soldiers trapped in Iraq’s civil war?  History will judge us. We can either continue down the President’s perilous path, or insist on a new direction. If we don’t change course, we know what lies ahead – more American casualties, more wounded, and more destruction.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Pre-D Day Prayer for U.S. Troops

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces invaded the beaches of Normandy, France. The landing involved over 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes, and more than 150,000 service men. The invasion cost the lives of over 4,000 Allied troops and almost 10,000 casualties.

President Roosevelt gave the following prayer in a radio address to the American people shortly after the beginning of D Day, June 6, 1944:

In this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor … to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness to their faith.

They will need Thy blessings…. They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violence of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and for tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice….

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

Ronald Reagan’s Normandy Speech

At the U.S. Ranger Monument at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1984, President Ronald Reagan commemorated the U.S. Rangers’ charge up the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc. He said:

“Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

“You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty.”

Declaration of Independence

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

———————————————————————-

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1 – Georgia: Button Gwinnett Lyman Hall George Walton

Column 2 – North Carolina: William Hooper Joseph Hewes John Penn South Carolina: Edward Rutledge Thomas Heyward, Jr. Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton

Column 3 – Massachusetts: John Hancock Maryland: Samuel Chase William Paca Thomas Stone Charles Carroll of Carrollton Virginia: George Wythe Richard Henry Lee Thomas Jefferson Benjamin Harrison Thomas Nelson, Jr. Francis Lightfoot Lee Carter Braxton

Column 4 – Pennsylvania: Robert Morris Benjamin Rush Benjamin Franklin John Morton George Clymer James Smith George Taylor James Wilson George Ross Delaware: Caesar Rodney George Read Thomas McKean

Column 5 – New York: William Floyd Philip Livingston Francis Lewis Lewis Morris New Jersey: Richard Stockton John Witherspoon Francis Hopkinson John Hart Abraham Clark

Column 6 – New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett William Whipple Massachusetts: Samuel Adams John Adams Robert Treat Paine Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins William Ellery Connecticut: Roger Sherman Samuel Huntington William Williams Oliver Wolcott New Hampshire: Matthew Thornton

United States Military Personnel Code of Conduct

The United States Armed Forces Code of Conduct was promulgated by President Eisenhower on August 17, 1955. It applies to all U.S. military personnel. President Carter amended Article V of the Code on November 3, 1977. President Reagan amended Articles I, II and VI of the Code on March 28, 1988. The Code is based on concepts and traditions dating from the American Revolution.

The Code of Conduct

I am an American fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life, I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

If I am captured I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information or take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies.

I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

 

Richard Keyt’s Eulogy to Harold Keyt

He Was a Good Man

February, 2002

I stand before you today to celebrate the life of a good man, my father Hal Keyt. We were blessed to have him for eighty years. My Dad wasn’t a famous actor, rock star or professional athlete, the types of people that the media portrays as heroes to the public. My Dad, however, was a true American hero. He was the salt of the earth, a patriot, a rocket scientist, a pioneer, an adventurer, and a truly nice guy.

One of Hal’s favorite books is “To Kill a Mockingbird.” He admired Atticus Finch, the small town lawyer who does the right thing even though it was not the popular thing to do. But to me my Dad was a man just like Atticus. Hal was just as strong as Atticus and he always did the right thing.

That’s why Dad joined the Army Air Corps the day after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. It was the right thing to do. Hal was a member of what NBC newsman Tom Brokaw calls the Greatest Generation. Dad didn’t hesitate. His country needed him and he answered the call. In our modern world of today, who among us would be willing to quit our jobs on twenty-fours’ notice, leave family and friends behind, and travel to the far corners of the world for an unknown number of years with no assurance that we’d ever return? That’s what my Dad did at age 20. Dad was a patriot, like many others of his generation, who risked their lives for the United States and to prevent the spread of tyranny. Dad flew combat missions over Europe as a B-17 navigator in the 8th Air Force. Because of the risks and sacrifices he made in World War II, my Dad is my hero.

From 1954 – 1958, my family lived at Lajes Field Air Base located on Terceira Island, in the Azores. The Azores is a group of Portuguese islands approximately midway between Europe and North America. We lived in the Azores during the era of propeller driven airplanes, before jets were used in commercial aviation. My Dad was a B-17 navigator in the 57th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron. I remember my Dad in his Air Force officers uniform. As a young boy, it was really cool to live near an air base and to be able to see airplanes up close. I remember my Dad taking my brother and me to the flight line to climb around inside the B-17s. One Armed Forces day I watched the parade from the pilot’s seat of a B-17 thanks to my Dad. What a thrill that was for an 8 year old boy who loved airplanes.

The Air Rescue squadron’s job was to find and escort to Lajes Field airplanes in distress while crossing the Atlantic ocean. Frequently, the men of the 57th ARS were tasked to find airplanes and ships that had gone down at sea. Many missions were routine, but sometimes the weather in the North Atlantic was treacherous. Like the post office, the men of the air rescue B-17s did not let rain, wind, sleet or snow stop them from assisting travelers in need. I didn’t know it then, but I know now, the men of the Air Rescue squadron risked their lives so that others might live. The men of the 57th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron were my heroes then and my Dad was one of them.

My Dad and his good friend Bob Watson made an 8 mm movie starring me, my brother and Capt. Watson’s kids. The movie shows the kids getting a phone call from Air Rescue alert informing us that our Dads were needed to scramble a B-17 and rescue an airplane that lost an engine. Our Dads weren’t home so the kids drove the car down to the flight line, got into flight suits, had a briefing, pre-flighted the B-17, started the engines, taxied to the runway, took off, found the airliner and escorted it to Lajes. It was a pretty neat movie.

Dad was also an adventurer. He and two of his friends were the first Americans to climb Mt. Pico, which at 7,713 feet is the highest point in Portugal. Mt. Pico is a volcano, which at the time had lava flows. Portions of the climb were as steep as forty degrees. Climbing on hard volcanic rock was not easy, but my Dad, the adventurer did it.

Hal left flying duty to become a rocket scientist during the pioneer days of the space race. In 1959 we moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was time of the Russian sputnik, the first satellite into space. During the 1960s the United States launched more missiles from Vandenberg AFB than from any other location. Vandenberg didn’t get the publicity that Cape Canaveral got because no manned space flights ever were launched from Vandenberg.

The early sixties at Vandenberg was an exciting time. We lived ten miles from the base, but when a missile blasted off, the rumbling of the blast was unmistakable and everybody for ten or more miles from the launch site ran outside to watch the launch. Even from ten miles away, we could clearly see the missile, the long flame coming from it and the long twisting contrail. In the early sixties, the missiles frequently blew up spectacularly. To an 11 year old boy, it was really cool when that happened.

But what was even cooler was that my Dad worked on the missiles and the satellites. Hal was one of the men involved in building the launching pads and launching the missiles. We’re not talking about your run of the mill small fry kind of missiles, but the big intercontinental ballistic missiles, ICBMs. While the rest of the United States was reading about the space race in the sixties, the Hal Keyt family had a front row seat for the live action.

We didn’t know it then, but we found out many years later when it was declassified that what Dad and his associates were doing was launching top secret spy satellites into orbit around the earth. The satellites were an important piece of our national defense system during the cold war.

Dad loved boats. He said many times that he wished he had been the captain of a navy ship. The last time I heard him say that was two or three weeks ago. Boating was in his blood, but he never got enough of it. When my brother and I were teenagers in central California, my Dad bought an 18 foot ski boat. We frequently took the boat to the lake on the weekends and camped out under the stars. We’d water ski with friends all day. That was the life.

One of our best family vacations was a week on a houseboat cruising the Sacramento river delta. It was a great time for family bonding. Of course we played a lot of cards, but never bridge. Hearts was our game and the competition was fierce. Mom and Dad played a lot of bridge all their lives, but they never pushed my brother or I into the game. We learned to play bridge as adults. Hal even gave a series of bridge lessons to my brother and me and our wives and some of our friends. We had a nice rubber bridge group for a while thanks to my Dad.

After he retired from the Air Force and worked as an aerospace engineer for General Electric in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, my Dad bought his first of three big boats. My parents kept their boats in a marina on a river that fed into the Chesapeake Bay. They got away to the boat most every weekend and just hung out. Dad loved those boats. He was a tinker so he had a lot of things to tinker with on the boat. There was always something that needed fixing, cleaning, painting or replacing. Dad just liked being on the boat on the water, even if the boat was tied to the dock.

My Mom and Dad liked to take trips in the boat exploring the northern Chesapeake. I remember how much fun those days were on the boat. There’s nothing quite like putting some meat on a hook, drooping it over the side and catching a crab for supper. One thing I know Dad loved about his boats was the sheer pleasure of sitting on the stern of the boat after supper and watching the sun go down over the water.

My Dad was a wonderful father. He always supported and encouraged my brother and I. He was always there when we needed him. Being a military man, Dad was a strict disciplinarian. My brother and I were taught to say yes sir and no sir. Dad gave us everything we wanted when we were growing up. We wanted a pool table, but didn’t have room in the house. No problem. Dad bought a beautiful slate pool table and put it in our one car garage. We were never able to use the garage again for the car, but my brother and I and our friends spent countless hours inside that garage playing all kinds of pool games.

When I was in high school, Dad bought a two seater MG sports car. Dad taught me how to drive a stick shift in that car. One year when I was in college, he loaned me his two seater Triumph sports car. Dad and I loved that little car. When I was a senior in college at Penn State, he loaned me his Mustang coupe.

Dad loved baseball and he passed his love for the game on to his sons. I remember Dad taking me to see a Washington Senators baseball game in Washington D.C. when I was very young. I also remember going to see minor league baseball games with my Dad when we lived in Denver. Dad took us to see the Hollywood Stars semi-pro baseball team play in Hollywood. When the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, we would drive three hours one way to watch the Dodgers play in the Coliseum and later at Dodger Stadium. Dad had the misfortune, however, to be a life-long Chicago Cubs fan. He loved to watch the Cubs play on WGN and when they came to Mesa for spring training.

Of course when we got the Arizona Diamondbacks, Dad became a died in the wool Diamondbacks fan. We have had Diamondback season tickets since their first year, but unfortunately, Dad was only able to attend one game in person. The task of getting from the car to the seat and back was too much for Dad. He elected to stay home and watch the Diamondbacks play on TV, but he rarely missed a TV game.

One of Dad’s unaccomplished dreams was to attend a world series game. When we were selecting our playoff tickets last year, Dad got mad because my Mom’s first selection was for tickets to a divisional playoff game rather than to a world series game. My Mom did get two tickets to game seven of the World Series, but Dad’s health was too frail for him to go. Instead, my son Ricky took my Dad’s place with my Mom and they watched the Diamondbacks win that miracle game seven. Dad loved the 2001 World Series and his Diamondbacks.

But most of all, Dad loved his family. He loved his wife, his children, his daughters-in-law and his grandchildren. My Dad idolized my mother. Mom and Dad were married 56 years. That fact alone says a lot about my Dad’s life and the kind of man he was. He always took care of Mom. Even as his health failed, his main concern was that he did not want to be a burden on my Mom. He worried more about my Mom than he did about himself. That’s the way he was. He was a good husband, a good father, a good father-in-law, a good grandfather and a good friend. Hal Keyt was a good man.

I thank God that we had Dad for 80 years. We love you Dad and are proud of you and we will always miss you.

Nick Vujicic on Life & Never Giving Up

Nick Vijicic is an amazing man who is an inspiration to millions.  Despite being born without any hands and only one small deformed foot, Nick has devoted his life to inspiring people.  I urge you to watch Nick talk to a group of young people about life and getting up every time you fall down until you succeed.  Ignore the subtitles.  The audio is English.

Nick’s website is Life without Limbs.

Contribute to Build a Veterans Memorial Center Near the Vietnam Wall

A video about plans to create a Veterans Memorial Center on the Mall near the Vietnam Wall to memorialize the Americans who died in the Vietnam war.  The center will educate people about the sacrifices made by Americans who gave everything in all U.S. wars.  People will be able to see items left at the Wall including photos, letters and messages.  The goal is to tell the story of every American who died for freedom in the Vietnam War.  To contributions to the fund, go the the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

If you watch the ten minute video at this link you will see what a wonderful museum they plan to build and want to contribute to the building fund.

As you watch the videos ask yourself what does it say about our leaders today who can waste billions of taxpayer dollars on boondoggles, but can’t spend the money to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that the people of the United States can be free?