Duty, Honor, and Sacrifice

kipling2_1568898cIt’s been an interesting week, hasn’t it? The 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, more news about (not charged) deserter Bowie Bergdahl, and the uproar about the movie American Sniper  bookended by the anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s death and funeral.

It has caused me to think a good bit this week on some old (and hard) words, like duty, and honor,  and betrayal, and cowardice, and courage. Wordsworth had this to say about duty

Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm’st the weary strife of frail humanity!

Nothing wrong with any of that, I think. But it doesn’t do much to speak to the sheer terror of doing our duty, in battle, yes but also, for those of us who stay behind and love them. But duty takes many guises doesn’t it? It’s not always our life on the line, sometimes it’s our reputation, and sometimes our livelihood, and sometimes it gets turned on its head and we are threatened if we do our duty. Doing one’s duty is what built the British Empire and the United States as well. One could call it the chief Victorian virtue.

But then as now there were many who failed in their duty. In our relatively soft and relativistic world, many make excuses for them. But our forefathers had a word,and ugly word, for them, which admitted not wiggle room.

That word was coward. And they would apply it even to one who did his duty in a lackadaisical manner, doing just enough to get by, or finding a safe posting. that type of cowardice wouldn’t get you jailed or executed, usually but it would ruin your career, military and/or civilian, and ruin your chances to advance in society.

And the other thing we see in that society is a willingness to pay the price of the policies one believed in, even in blood. And that brings us to todays movie. This is not a happy movie. It is a movie of duty performed, even unto death, set against the Great War, It is also, true.

 

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

That is the kind of discipline and duty that built our modern world, It is also what is required to keep it strong and vibrant.

We’ve some improvements to make, I think.

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About NEO
Lineman, Electrician, Industrial Control technician, Staking Engineer, Inspector, Quality Assurance Manager, Chief Operations Officer

15 Responses to Duty, Honor, and Sacrifice

  1. the unit says:

    I had not heard or seen of the movie before today. Duty exemplified extraordinare. Since I had not known of it and started watching and my laptop speakers not so good I was into it awhile, maybe 20 minutes, and didn’t know what I was watching. So looked it up on google and read the wiki info. I only went then 20 more minutes, knowing what was next.
    My oldest son died @ 19, not in conventional war. But in one nevertheless. Was a criminal justice student in Jr.C. Had portrayed McGruff, the crime dog, in costume in local schools for the police department. Also was used as a plant at local bars selling liquor to the underaged. Not good to do in Dixie Mafia territory if you want to live. Died in horrible vehicle crash. Closed casket funeral. 33 Police and Sheriff crusiers in procession, from MS, TN, and AR.
    No evidence of foul play, no investigation, closed case…just my knowledge and belief to what I post. If you read about Dixie Mafia maybe you would understand my thoughts. War just the same.
    Long time ago, 22 years, but still just like the morning of learning of it. I even did a few poems myself and stapled to my workshop wall. That’s where my refuge was, staying busy and crying by myself. Shop not “climate change” controlled. Time, heat, cold, dampness has eroded what I wrote and shop now deteriorated.
    P.S. As to mention of Bergdahl and delayed court martial. This the day Eddie Slovik faced firing squat for desertion and as far as I can tell no direct loss of life for his action of cowardice. But no egg on a pResidents face.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      I’m so sorry to hear about your son, my friend, I have heard of the “Dixie mafia’ although not a lot. Yes, I consider it completely similar.

      I would suggest, if you can bear too, watch the end title. It’s a recitation, in character of Kipling’s poem “My Boy jack” and very moving.

      I will quit writing for the moment because I’m having sudden trouble in seeing my screen.

      Your son, and you, will be in prayers tonight.

      God bless you,

      Neo

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        I will finish watching, just need to reboot. My brain, emotions, and laptop. Thanks for consideration, reading my rant…and your prayers. I can still 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Good on You 🙂

          I came very close to having to go through that with jess, whom I often consider my daughter, last fall, and I’m far from recovered. Nearly losing her was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced, and the current lack of contact while she is recovering is nearly as bad. Although I haven’t had the full force, I sure empathize. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • I still pray for Jessica, she is on my daily prayer list, but then of course God hears our prayers, but always according to His will and purpose, and that WE just don’t know, so we just pray! And btw, it is here that I found myself, the Lord’s Prayer to be very helpful, at least for me!

          Blessings to all, and in that Name above all names, JESUS!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. the unit says:

    Now I’ve watched it all. Actually got audio working better. Still wondering this…who the military guy in the beginning and end and at the end before the poem words…who was lying on bedroom floor?

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      I did too originally. He’s King George V of England. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Thanks. I not sure how V served, or Charles. Think William and Harry both served in war zones. Know Queen did her service.
        http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/driving-king-anecdote-goes-viral/

        Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Not sure he did a war zone either. William and Harry are the first ones in a long time to see combat-good on them, I say.

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          I think according to wiki they both mostly toured around the British holdings. Well, if no war what else can you do except date a lot. Wiki tells of that too. 🙂 So has Harry I think.

          Like

        • NEO says:

          Actually no, Harry was at Camp Bastion when the Taliban attacked, so was jess’ ex, it was a full on fire fight, and he was an Apache pilot with a fair number of combat sorties as well, he’s talked about it a bit. He saw the elephant according to the Brit grunts. Harry, I don’t really know, but I doubt if he didn’t it was his idea. They may be royals, but there also Spencers, just like Sir Winston was, and I think they bred true. He’ll be a good king, I think, too bad Charles is in the way.

          Like

        • the unit says:

          Yeah, Harry did serve well there. Just meant he had his fling, according to Hollywood Reporter or some such magazine. I would too, more power to him. 🙂
          Compare to King Choom, huh?

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Yep, and I would as well (well at his age anyway) and it looks like he ended up with a pretty good’un anyway. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          As is said “yeppers” to both William and Harry and new George, and a new little who is on first, what is on second, and I don’t knows on third. Hope to be around to find out. 🙂

          Like

        • NEO says:

          Yeppers 🙂 They seem to be good folks.

          Like

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