April 29, 2005

Breaking The Code

"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 point 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."
So said General Douglas MacArthur in his unforgettable farewell speech to the cadets of the U.S Military Academy at West Point on May 12, 1962.

Duty. Honor. Country.

The Code. These are the words the Long Gray Line has lived by in blue and grey, khaki, and camoflage, for over two hundred years. That code is in jeopardy now, as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, never defeated in battle, is poised to surrender the Code to the selfish desires of men playing children's games.

Cadets join the academy for an excellent education, and in return commit to serve five years in uniform for their country, though many stay far longer. The USMA now would cheapen that commitment by making a rule change for athletic recruiting purposes, cutting short a cadet's commitment to his country if he commits instead to the self-aggrandizing world of professional sports. The selfish individualism of this proposal is against the core beliefs the cadets at West Point are taught to believe in.

Cadets join--or should join-- the U.S. Military Academy to serve their country and become leaders of men. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of universities that serve the more puerile needs of sports fanatics; few of them have national service as their heart, nor duty part of their soul. Yet, the Army seems willing to compromise Duty for the base edification of the selfish individual desires of boys who want to play games for money.

The tearing away of West Point's core ideology of "Duty. Honor. Country." would service the greed of a few vainglorious individuals at the expense of the selfless Corps.

A few athletes each decade might succeed for several meager seasons as a pro athlete after betraying the core values of West Point, while thousands of real cadets who joined the Corps for the right reasons graduate, live and die honorably serving out their commitments, sacrificing themselves for our freedoms on distant hostile shores.

Some say this betrayal of values is a winner for the Black Knights of West Point. They see this as a "groundbreaking rule to improve Black Knights football." They are wrong to trample on the soul of West Point in hopes of recruiting a few athletes to add a few victories to meaningless win columns. We need more people like Pat Tillman, people willing to serve their country instead of themselves. We don't need to tear these values away from one of the few institutions that still hold them in their proper place.

There are much more important victories to be gained that require far more sacrifice. West Point used to know this. It is not too late to remind them.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 29, 2005 09:34 AM | TrackBack