Selected in the top 100 Economics Sites

Follow me on Twitter

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans' Day: Duty, Honor, Country

I am never prouder to be an American than I am every time I read this speech. MacArthur has two farewell speeches. One to Congress after Truman relieved him of command in Korea where he says "old soldiers never die, they just fade away." And then the lesser known one here, given to the cadets at West Point. If you ever have even a 1% chance to go visit West Point, don't pass it up. It is unlike anywhere in the world. I routinely drive 200 miles out of my way to sit at Trophy Point for even 5 minutes and gaze up the Hudson river. See a football game there if you won't be sorry, you will hit the Sports Americana jack pot. If I had to do it all over again, I would try and go to West Point. MacArthur refers to "the long gray line" of tradition and esprit-de-corps that sustains all West Point cadets. I flatter myself that I think I could have gotten in or had the guts to finish. Here are parts of the speech I have edited. I know you are busy so here are the best segments of the speech. I can't read it without getting a lump in my throat. The full text is available here:

And Thanks to all Veterans!
MacArthur's West Point Farewell:
"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.
Always for them: Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as they saw the way and the light.
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.
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.
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 then, 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 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. "


Anonymous said...

How do you think our new President will address the economic situation early on?
Wiil we see you in Durham in May? Your HMC friend and Rick's
Cec Given

Randall Parker said...

Cec: What a pleasure to hear from you! I would do the opposite of LBJ...if nominated I would run and if elected I would serve if the HMC boys would have me again!

To answer your question...early on there is good news and bad news. The good news is all of his candidates for Secy. of Treasury are stellar choices. The bad news is I heard Rahm Emmanuel say last Sunday it is full steam ahead with tax increases and I would also presume the destruction of international trade. This is Herbert Hoover all over again and has me reaching for the crying towel. Overall I see the long-run unemployment rate and the government share of our GDP rising very substantially. Government ain't free and we will see if the American people really have the stomach for the damage it will do to the underlying dynamics of our economy. I will have more to say on this matter in future postings. What a treat! Thanks for visiting Cec!

Anonymous said...

Google brought you up, and I was intrigued, although I had a mission, and this is a digression, but an entirely pleasurable one. Always rewarding to stumble upon an admirer of The General. Too bad mostly everyone has a short attention span, for, as you know, the whole speech is "splendid."
Ellen Paul

Randall Parker said...

Thanks so much Ms. Paul. Nice having you as a visitor and thank you for your service to our great country.