Duty, Honor and Commitment

“Duty then is the sublimest word in the English language. You should do your duty in all things. You can never do more, you should never wish to do less.”                                        Robert E Lee

Perhaps, Serving in the military myself has helped me to understand a little of the struggle that every defender of our ‘nations rights’ goes through. The vast majority of us do not wake up one morning and say, “Today, I willingly take another souls life.” It goes against the grain of all decency and morality. But, we took an oath to defend, protect and serve the people. A pledge that we would honor our duty even though it conflicts with our personal beliefs. Today, more than others, I am reminded that we must draw from the well of compassion for those who were so tormented by the choice between duty and personal philosophy.

It is the anniversary of the birth of Robert E Lee (January 19, 1807 to October 12, 1870) and we celebrate the symbol of individual commitment to duty over all else during a time of great strife in our American history. Thousands of men, young and old, had to make that choice during those years of the civil war and millions of men and women in the years that followed, So, as we celebrate Robert E. Lee Day, we are not just honoring his sense of duty, but those millions of unheard voices that faced equal moral turmoil.

In a letter from Robert E Lee to George Washington Custis in January, 1861 Lee writes, …As an American citizen, I take great pride in my country, her prosperity and institutions, and would defend any State if her rights were invaded. But I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution, or the consent of all the people in convention assembled.

It’s easy to stand at our pulpit and look back upon our past and condemn people for the choices they made. But we should not be too quick to judge. How would you react today, if  faced with the choice of defending your state or defending your country? Even though that might mean defending your country against your brother.

 

 

 

 

 

12 thoughts on “Duty, Honor and Commitment

  1. Good comment, I too served, with honour. To be chastised and disrespected by following generations. I harbour no ill feelings to any who have caused me pain by their attitude. For I carry a heavy weight of brothers now absent, may God bless them and theirs. However, of politicians, I have no kind word. Peace and love to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thank you for your service. Agreed about politicians, regardless of which party they supposedly belong to. Each one is there to serve themselves. Prayers to those that gave their lives in the name of duty and to those they left behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your service, Jerry.

    To everyone who has served, and is serving today…I am ever grateful, ever thankful, always remembering.

    My oldest brother served in the Army.

    I think ALL of our leaders, especially presidents, should have served in the military. But, I’ve had people disagree with me on this.

    Great tribute and honoring post!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i am so proud of what you stand for and am brave to write about too. thank you for sharing about Robert E. Lee I am always interested in history of war heroes like these. I typed an earlier comment but my computer decided to give up and I lost it and I can’t remember it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gina. Here in the US, last year there was an uproar over civil war statues. To me, history is a reminder of good and evil. We must not forget that there was a Hitler in order to prevent a future one. Just as we must not forget the mistakes of our ancestors so we will not repeat there actions.

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      1. so profound Jerry, indeed we can forgive but never forget, that will make the atrocities legitimate. it’s good to be reminded by writers like you with thought provoking posts that may be uncomfortable for some but so necessary.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember running into a friend’s younger brother’s MySpace profile (so it was ages ago, because MySpace). I hadn’t seen or spoken to him since I was 6 and he was 3 so I had no concept of him as an adult. He’d joined the army shortly after 9/11 when I think he must have been only just old enough to enlist.

    Reading about his experiences and how he felt having finished his last tour of duty compared to how he felt going in was incredible. I honestly can’t even imagine to day to day reality of what he went through and it amazes me that people come out the other end of that only to be treated like absolute crap by the country they served.

    Liked by 1 person

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