Duty, Honor, Country: the Address to the Cadets

“This I know” Duty, Honor, Country, the address by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur to the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy West Point, in accepting the Sylvanus Thayer Award on May 12, 1962 is a memorable panegyric to the ideals that inspired the great American soldier. Army General Douglas MacArthur, who was the Supreme Allied Commander in the Pacific during World War II, and who was in charge of the surrender and post-war occupation of Japan, was relieved of his command in April 1951 by President Harry S.

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Truman. His speech addresses the morality a soldier should have, and what the Sylvanus Thayer Award signifies. ”But this award is not intended primarily to honor 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.’’

“Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: 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.” Duty, a moral or legal obligation; a responsibility. Honor, regard with great respect. Country, a nation with its own government, occupying a particular territory. These are the exact definition to these three words that had a lasting impact to cadets, a school, and a nation. Duty comes from strong moral beliefs and teachings, honor comes from an everlasting impact, impression, and love, and a country is -and should be- a home for the free and the brave.

Many throughout time have showed acts of duty and honor. ‘Duty to act’ often refers to a group that takes necessary action to prevent harm or damage to another group or the general public. Examples of this are those in law enforcement, first responders, and the military. Honor, or the act of honoring (usually someone), is tend to be done out of respect and admiration. People tend to honor those who have served before them or beside them. Whether as first responders or while serving their country.

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