“Duty, Honor, Country”- Not?

By | June 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

Many things have gone wrong, too many for a convenient list. But the Pentagon has come to our rescue and summarized the whole, rotten mess in one sentence. It has removed “Duty, Honor, Country” from its mission statement. What, exactly, is objectionable about those three words? If they don’t mean anything to the big shots at the Pentagon, don’t assume they mean nothing to us ordinary folks.

I spent my early years in Lisbon, North Dakota. At that time it had about 2000 inhabitants. It still has about 2000 inhabitants. Those cold winters do not invite immigrants. Just outside of town is the North Dakota Veterans Home. When my parents took me there as a child, it was called the Old Soldiers Home, originally intended for Civil War veterans.

There I was proud to meet “Colonel” Carroll, who had been a drummer boy in the Union Army. As the oldest resident, he was the commandant of the Old Soldiers Home. I was just a kid, so I don’t remember a word he said. But I do remember his white beard and his quiet dignity. He, not some¬† movie character, formed my idea of a hero.

Later I met other role models. There was Master Sergeant Lee, who taught me to shoot a rifle at age 14. He wore combat decorations from World War II, including the Purple Heart. Reluctantly he explained it was for being shot in the leg by a German machine gun while leading a platoon across a French field. He was so focused he didn’t know he had been hit until sfter he crossed the field. And there was my father, who served as a private in the infantry. I still have his dog tag.

So don’t worry. The Pentagon brass may have stars on there shoulders, but they have nothing but career in their hearts. But there are plenty of us ordinary folks who understand quite well the meaning of “Duty, Honor, Country.” We had outstanding teachers. And we can’t wait to tell you about it on Nov. 5.


Col John W. Carroll



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