It’s time again to focus
on duty, honor, courage
As a Cold War veteran, I have a license plate bracket on my car that reads, “Duty-Honor-Country.” Those words were central to our mission and bespoke a positive thread that laced our lives together at home and abroad. I love that slogan.
“Duty” suggests a responsibility to contribute to the common good. We each pitch in and do our part. It isn’t all about “me.” It’s all about “us,” at our best, seeking the best for others. It allows for individuation without cutoffs, a lofty ideal much in sync with the founding principles of our nation.
“Honor” is about respect for others. Standing tall among the world’s cultures are our ideals of innocence until guilt is proved, and freedom of expression. We honor one another by valuing each other for the best that is within us, believing in one another’s essential goodness and encouraging one another toward higher goals.
“Country” is our unique sense of place, nationhood, traditions, beliefs and vision. We value patriotism, loyalty to our principles and commitment to the common good. We pull together to resolve problems and enhance life for generations yet to come.
The Cold War officially ended in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the breakup of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany. Tensions, however, have continued to fester. Today it appears we are engaged in a second “Cold War,” with nuclear threats, diplomatic leveraging and challenges to individual and national integrity.
Perhaps in such a time, we should revive that motto, “Duty-Honor-Country,” to keep ourselves grounded in the promise America offers at its best.