The hoo-hah over “Duty, Honor, Country”

“Duty, Honor, Country.”

That is the motto of the United States Military Academy and it is not changing. You may have gotten a different impression from some conservative voices.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, a West Point graduate

It is being removed from West Point’s mission statement, a statement that is changed periodically, according to the Associated Press.

I first heard about this on Dom Giordano’s afternoon show on WPHT/1210-AM and he was filled with righteous indignation over the idea that a “perfect” phrase — his word — would be removed from the mission statement.

I got the impression from him that “Duty, Honor, Country” was being replaced as the mission statement by the following word salad: “To build, educate, train, and inspire the Corps of Cadets to be commissioned leaders of character committed to the Army Values and ready for a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.”

AP reported: “As we have done nine times in the past century, we have updated our mission statement to now include the Army Values,” academy spokesperson Col. Terence Kelley said Thursday. Those values — spelled out in other documents — are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage, he said.

“Duty, Honor, Country” was added to the mission statement in 1998, and now has been removed, but it remains as the motto of the school.

Dom did not make that clear while I was listening. (In response to an email, he told me he believed he did make that clear.) He and other right-wing talk show hosts used the issue to springboard into a charge that creeping Wokeism is ruining our military.

There may be something to that. The mission of the military can be expressed in two words:  Protect America.

Everything else is window dressing. The military has been and should be a meritocracy, and Woke hates merit because it cancels equity.

To protect America, when necessary, we ask our military to kill other human beings, irrespective of race, religion, nationality, gender, ethnicity, or food choice. In that sense, the U.S. military is DEI dense. It will kill anyone.

Still chewing on the Woke bone, Dom wondered if the motto would be changed from the “perfect” “Duty, Honor, Country” to something like Diversity, Equity, Inclusion!

That one got me and I laughed out loud. I imagined hearing that as a cheer as Army plays Navy. “Diversity! Equity! Inclusion!”

Why stop there, I thought.

How about the Equitable States of America?

The Pledge of Subservience to Diversity?

Forget the Alamo! Embrace forgiveness.

The United Communities of Inclusion?

The Trans States of America?


On his show, Dom ran a clip of an address of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, which was inspirational, even though the World War II hero later held controversial views, and was relieved by President Harry S Truman when the general clashed  with the president.

In the new mission statement, Dom complained that the cadets were pledged to “a lifetime of service to the Army and Nation.”

Dom conspiratorially kvetched that the mission said “Nation.” Why doesn’t it say “United States?”

Is there another nation? Was he thinking Wakanda?

My problem with the line was with “a lifetime of service.”

Lifetime? Some of the cadets may opt for a lifetime of service, but most don’t. No more than 40% do 20 or more years.

Maybe the mission statement ought to trashed and replaced with: “Duty, Honor, Country.”

Those are eternal American values, now more honored in the breach. The fewer the words, the better. Less is more. Simplicity.

Steer away from Woke inflation that adds words and lessens clarity. “Homeless” becomes “a person experiencing homelessness.” I know the argument. “Homeless” seems to describe and categorize the person, while “experiencing” makes it appear to be transitory. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. It doesn’t change the person’s homeless status. A “drug addict” is morphed into “someone experiencing an addiction to drugs.” The former drug addicts I asked said no softening should be permitted — it is a disease that should be attacked, not coddled. I have a “disabled” parking plaque for the car I use because I need a cane to walk. I am “disabled,” not “otherly abled” as some would have you say.

These silly euphemisms don’t actually spare anyone’s feelings. They are empathetic gibberish.

Let’s return to the big three words.

Duty? An alarmingly high number of Americans refuse to report for work at the main office.  They want to be Burger Kings and have it their way.

Honor? You don’t see much from politicians, and the retail crime wave across America suggests that some of their constituents are OK with the “Help yourself” culture, in this case helping themselves to other peoples’ property. We don’t seem to talk about honor any more.

Country? You mean the Red country, or the Blue country? The progressive coasts or the rock-ribbed conservative middle?

We can’t blame it on Covid. We started losing our national identity long before that virus came along.

 In the eight stages of democracy, I think we have achieved complacency, which I would re-label futility.

Some 70% of Americans do not want a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump, but that’s what we are getting.

But I don’t think there will be a massive sick-out, with people sitting on the couch and not voting. I actually think vote totals in November will be a record high, and not just because  there are more Americans this year than four years ago.

Each side will bust a gut to turn out voters to cast ballots against the evil other guy who has been demonized.

Both sides are shouting that democracy is on the line, and neither side seems to have faith our democratic system will prevail over the “wrong” candidate winning.

To them, “Duty, Honor, Country” are just words.

15 thoughts on “The hoo-hah over “Duty, Honor, Country””

  1. And those who, when I grew up, were slaves are now “enslaved persons”. I’m sure that has eased the conditions of their servitude.

    1. I find it troubling that so many Americans are going along with the new “sensitivity” definitions for everything. I refuse to do so. To me, someone who breaks into my house is a burglar. Someone who murders is a murderer. Someone who comes into our country without proper documentation is illegal. On the other hand, someone with lovely features is beautiful, and someone with the ability to comprehend Henry James and Bob Dylan is a genius. It’s as simple as that.

  2. 1. Mission statements become encrusted like the annual growth on coral reefs from each new generation.
    The boarding school I went to had a one sentence mission statement written by the founder. Pure, to the point and covered the enduring mission of that school.
    Now, after numerous layers of “great thought” encrustations were added by later trustees, it covers a whole page, is quite confusing, exceedingly pompous and no one reads it. Stick to fundamentals.

    2. Congratulations for skewering the misconstruing words that have taken over many of our plain and direct words. Politicians, gullible activists and loopy main stream editors are the culprits. Obama, too, began calling his government expenditures of our taxes, “investments!” Good Grief!

    3. And total eradication of DEI and its destructive ideology. It has been “extremely successful creating mediocrity out of excellence” everywhere it rammed its delusional nose in the tent. Don’t we seek excellence in our military, doctors, surgeons, lawyers, Supreme Court Justices! and all judges and prosecutors, teachers, engineers, architects, athletes and everywhere to strengthen the USA? DEI is weakening the USA everywhere. Get rid of it. Fire everyone who is a DEI proponent, a DEI CEO (usually with excessively fraudulent resumes and credentials), and fire all the DEI employees for weakening our country like a malignant tapeworm from within.

    4. Election methods: To avoid a repeat of the accusations of, to quell even more opportunities to cheat and defraud, and to negate the uncertainty of who is telling the truth, return elections to our “Tried and True” method of everyone voting on election day, at their polling place after showing your ID. This undercuts the sleazy political and election operatives in every state seeking to manipulate the outcomes from both sides! Tried and True for 2024!

    1. 1- Agree.
      2- You are welcome.
      3- I want it to DIE a quick death.
      4- Vote by mail is here to stay. If we have THAT, we no longer need early voting or the other nonsense.

      1. Make Election Day a holiday so hopefully, more people turn out and vote. In Philadelphia, so few people vote we get stuck with crumbbums like Krasner, Kenney, and Gym.

  3. With all due respect to what you so excellently do, Stu, words are meaningless unless they translate into actual actions that can have a real effect. Don’t get so upset with what we call something. If it bothers you, take action to fix the problem; if you’re happy with it, shout it from the rooftops.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. But—
      Meaningless words are meaningless. Inspirational words lead to action. The misuse of words is important because what you are allowed to say affects the way you think. (And vice versa.)
      Perfect example: Most media dropping “illegal” when referring to the “undocumented” (which is ACTUALLY INCORRECT in many cases.) The euphemism allows people to forget that these people have ACTUALLY broken the law. This is what Orwell’s Ministry of Truth would do.

  4. Carved on the base of the statue on the campus of Farber University in the movie ‘Animal House’ were the words: KNOWLEDGE IS GOOD. That says it all.

  5. Stu, part of the oath I took when I was joining the Navy was to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic”. And after over 40 years, I still take those words seriously.

  6. This seems to me to be another example of MAGA and woke being two sides of the same coin. Like the woke, here are guys combing through anything and everything trying to find signs in tiny bits of language of “wokeness” (as opposed to racism) in every context, no matter how tenuous. What is this except “virtue signalling” that they are anti-woke? And, seriously, is the right answer to the “language police” to turn into language police, but simply on the opposite side?

    Just as an aside: “differently-abled” is gone from the woke lexicon. That term is sooo 2005.

    Nowadays, DEI classes teach that “differently-abled” is discriminatory! To quote current thinking: “By denying the very term disability we are removing disability from the equation. Society ceases to be the problem. The world doesn’t need to be fixed or challenged around ableism because there is nothing to fix. There is nothing to fix because the individual isn’t disabled — just differently abled.”

    So, objection to the term “differently-abled” is now woke! The term was just a tool of ableist society to oppress the disabled. Congratulations to all who were ahead of the curve on this one. On the other hand, there is plenty of material left for woke-bashing, so do not despair.

    1. DEI is just a new name for an old concept. In the LAST century, everyone at the Daily News and Inquirer was required to take “sensitivity” training, starting with “Bad words.” I won’t go into all of them, or what we were “taught.”
      The bottom line — which took six hours — was the Golden Rule, treat others as you would be treated. No one would argue with that.
      The problem is, the people who knew that, do that. The people who don’t, won’t.
      I saw it as wasted effort. TODAY’S Woke is greatly expanded to include not just what you do, but what you think. Example, subconscious racism.
      Does it exist? Not in everyone. Does it lead to racist ACTION? Unproven.
      Too many minorities (no idea of the percent) are being taught to find racism where it does not exist.
      As opposed to actual racism that is against the law — in housing, employment, voting.
      I mean seem callus because I grew up in an era of ACTUAL racism and know that what I see today, while utterly regrettable, is NOTHING to what it once was.

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