MacArthur’s “Duty, Honor, Country”; James L. from Oildale’s Patriotic Poetry; Wars of the Roses: “March of the Men of Harlech”; Thieme’s “Christian Soldier”
The occasion also marked the general’s acceptance of the Sylvanus Thayer Award. Since 1958, the Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy has presented the Sylvanus Thayer Award to an outstanding citizen of the United States whose service and accomplishments in the national interest exemplify personal devotion to the ideals expressed in the West Point motto, “Duty, Honor, Country.”
“Duty, Honor, Country”
No human being could fail to be deeply moved by such a tribute as this [Thayer Award]. Coming from a profession I have served so long and a people I have loved so well, it fills me with an emotion I cannot express. But this award is not intended primarily to honor a personality, but to symbolize a great moral code—a code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved land of culture and ancient descent. For all hours and for all time, it is an expression of the ethics of the American soldier. That I should be integrated in this way with so noble an ideal arouses a sense of pride, and yet of humility, which will be with me always.
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.
Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.
The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.
But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the Nation's defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.
They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for actions, not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never to take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.
They give you a temperate will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease.
They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.
And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?
Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man-at-arms. My estimate of him was formed on the battlefield many, many years ago, and has never changed. I regarded him then, as I regard him now, as one of the world's noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.
His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me; or from any other man. He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy's breast.
But when I think of his patience in adversity, of his courage under fire, and of his modesty in victory, I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words. He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom. He belongs to the present, to us, by his virtues and by his achievements.
In 20 campaigns, on a hundred battlefields, around a thousand camp fires, I have witnessed that enduring fortitude, that patriotic self-abnegation, and that invincible determination which have carved his statue in the hearts of his people.
From one end of the world to the other, he has drained deep the chalice of courage. As I listened to those songs [of the glee club], in memory's eye I could see those staggering columns of the first World War, bending under soggy packs on many a weary march, from dripping dusk to drizzling dawn, slogging ankle deep through the mire of shell-pocked roads to form grimly for the attack, blue-lipped, covered with sludge and mud, chilled by the wind and rain, driving home to their objective, and for many to the judgment seat of God.
I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death. They died, unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory.
Always for them: duty, honor, country. Always their blood, and sweat, and tears, as we sought the way and the light and the truth. And 20 years after, on the other side of the globe, again the filth of murky foxholes, the stench of ghostly trenches, the slime of dripping dugouts, those boiling suns of relentless heat, those torrential rains of devastating storms, the loneliness and utter desolation of jungle trails, the bitterness of long separation from those they loved and cherished, the deadly pestilence of tropical disease, the horror of stricken areas of war.
Their resolute and determined defense, their swift and sure attack, their indomitable purpose, their complete and decisive victory - always through the bloody haze of their last reverberating shot, the vision of gaunt, ghastly men, reverently following your password of duty, honor, country.
The code which those words perpetuate embraces the highest moral law and will stand the test of any ethics or philosophies ever promulgated for the things that are right and its restraints are from the things that are wrong. The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training—sacrifice. In battle, and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image.
No physical courage and no greater strength can take the place of the divine help which alone can sustain him. However hard the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.
You now face a new world, a world of change. And through all this welter of change and development your mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable. It is to win our wars. Everything else in your professional career is but corollary to this vital dedication. All other public purposes, all other public projects, all other public needs, great or small, will find others for their accomplishment; but you are the ones who are trained to fight.
Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, that if you lose, the nation will be destroyed, that the very obsession of your public service must be duty, honor, country.
Others will debate the controversial issues, national and international, which divide men's minds. But serene, calm, aloof, you stand as the nation's war guardian, as its lifeguard from the raging tides of international conflict, as its gladiator in the arena of battle. For a century and a half you have defended, guarded, and protected its hallowed traditions of liberty and freedom, of right and justice.
Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government: Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by Federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as thorough and complete as they should be.
These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a ten-fold beacon in the night: duty, honor, country.
You are the leaven which binds together the entire fabric of our national system of defense. From your ranks come the great captains who hold the nation's destiny in their hands the moment the war tocsin sounds.
The long, gray line has never failed us. Were you to do so, a million ghosts in olive drab, in brown khaki, in blue and gray, would rise from their white crosses, thundering those magic words: duty, honor, country.
This does not mean that you are warmongers. On the contrary, the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war. But always in our ears ring the ominous words of Plato, that wisest of all philosophers: "Only the dead have seen the end of war."
The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished--tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ear, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll.
In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and re-echoes: duty, honor, country.
Today marks my final roll call with you. But I want you to know that when I cross the river, my last conscious thoughts will be of the corps, and the corps, and the corps.
I bid you farewell.
Patriotic Poetry: James L. from Oildale:
The scrum of battles, conflicts, and campaigns has inspired many to poetry and song. Many of you participated in the recent production of a DVD that will be sent to our troops in the Middle East. Its title track was co-written by a man who tunes in to our Internet broadcasts. He has been appointed to the office of Poet Laureate of Oildale, California. I would like to include three of his works that salute those who have both fought and died in the defense of our national colors.
The first two are taken from his book and both of which have recently graced the home page of our Web site.
Wattenbarger, James L. Confessions of a Wordsmith: the Complete Incomplete Works of James L. of Oildale. (Oildale: TCL Press, 2003), 59-60:
We have quoted the speech of Henry V prior to his victory over the French at Agincourt. It was a significant event in the history of England since it left Henry in control of Northern France. But only seven years later he fell victim to illness and died with the crown inherited by his infant son, Henry who, just nine-months old at the time, became Henry VI.
During Henry VI’s minority, England was ruled by a regency of a council of nobles until he was 15 when he was declared “of age.” At age 32 he married Margaret of Anjou \än zhü\ who was just 15 herself at the time. Henry was not the kingly type. He was an extremely moral man who preferred to study Scripture rather then govern England. His lack of desire to care about the affairs of state ultimately led to a struggle for his successor to the throne which was decided by a series of conflicts that became known as the Wars of the Roses.
NOTE: See visual, “Houses of Lancaster and York”
The pretender to the Lancastrian throne was from the line of John of Gaunt’s fourth son, Edmund of Langley who was the duke of York of the House of York. His grandson, Richard, had inherited the title, duke of York, and was Henry VI’s antagonist for succession to the throne upon his death.
The duke of York was the rightful heir and although grossly mistreated by Henry, he remained loyal to the crown. Henry and Margaret seemed unable to have a child and York’s assumption that he was heir apparent was well founded. Not only was there no heir to the Lancaster line but his bloodline also went back to John of Gaunt’s second son. His grandmother, the wife of Richard, earl of Cambridge, was Anne Mortimor, the daughter of Edmund Mortimor, the third son of Lionel, duke of Clarence.
But in 1453 Margaret became pregnant for the only time in her marriage to Henry. In December of that year she gave birth to Edward who automatically became the Prince of Wales.
During the time of Margaret’s pregnancy, Henry had the first of several bouts with what could have been catatonic schizophrenia:
John Gillingham. The Wars of the Roses: Peace and Conflict in Fifteenth-Century England. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1981), 75:
In early August 1453, Henry VI suffered a complete breakdown. Some of the king’s subjects put this down to necromancy, but most knew that his mental health had always been fragile. In view of his maternal grandfather’s madness this may have been an hereditary condition. But whereas Charles VI is said to have believed that he was made of glass and that if anyone touched him he would shatter, Henry’s breakdown took the form of complete immobility. For nearly eighteen months he was unable to speak or use any of his limbs. It has been pointed out that his condition bears a resemblance to a period of stupor in a case of catatonic schizophrenia, though at this distance of time confident diagnosis is not really possible.
With a new crown prince on the scene the friction between the Houses of Lancaster and York increased. The duke of York began a campaign to win public support to overthrow the rule of Henry. He was not immediately successful so he changed his tactics and sought to win support to succeed Henry at his death claiming that because of superior primogeniture, he had the rightful claim to the throne rather then young Edward.
Ultimately armed conflict broke out between the two houses. Since the House of Lancaster’s badge was a red rose and the House of York’s was a white one, the battles became known as the Wars of the Roses. The battles were spread over the whole of England, Scotland, and Wales.
NOTE: See visuals: “The Wars of the Roses: Major Battles” and “The Wars of the Roses: Major Sites”
At the Battle of Northampton in July 1460, King Henry VI was captured yet Margaret held fast to her contention that Edward was heir apparent. Nevertheless, she was forced to take refuge and did so at Harlech Castle in Gwynedd \gwi′ neth\, Wales. Margaret’s supporters killed the duke of York at the Battle of Wakefield in December 1460, and freed the king from captivity at the second Battle of St. Alban’s in February 1461.
But Edward of York, the son of Richard, the duke of York, seized the throne as Edward IV. The occupier of the throne exchanged hands three more times until Henry was murdered in the Tower of London in 1471. His son Edward, Prince of Wales was killed in the Battle of Tewkesbury the same year, leaving Edward IV and the House of York in control of the British crown.
In late 1461 and early '62 Edward of York ordered a campaign through Wales to attack Lancastrian strongholds in several Welsh castles. Jasper Tudor, earl of Pembroke, Henry Holland, duke of Exeter, and other Lancastrians were in possession of castles as important as Pembroke, Harlech, Carreg Cennen, and Denbigh \den′ be\:
Gillingham, The Wars of the Roses, 139-40:
In the autumn Lord Herbert took command of a highly successful campaign. He captured Pembroke Castle on 30 September. Then on 16 October, he defeated the earl of Pembroke and the duke of Exeter at Caernarvon \kīr när′ vaun\. After this defeat the Welsh Lancastrians were no longer capable of putting any army in the field. Their strongholds were isolated and picked off: Denbigh in January 1462, Carreg Cennen in May. Only Harlech continued to hold out. The capture of this great fortress, designed to be supplied from the sea, would have required a greater expenditure on ships and artillery than Edward was prepared to sanction. So for several years more this nest of rebels was allowed to survive.
The story of the Harlech Castle’s resistance against the antagonists of King Henry VI remains legendary in Wales today. The Web site www.data-wales.co.uk gives details about the seven-year holdout and how it inspired the battle song “March of the Men of Harlech.”
NOTE: See visual, “Harlech Castle”
Weston, John. Men of Harlech. (www.data-wales.co.uk/harlech.htm):
The song Men of Harlech is something of an unofficial anthem in Wales. Every Welsh person knows the tune and despite the variety of lyrics over the years, the martial air has become identified with the country's determination to retain its identity. Harlech Castle in north Wales, one of the "iron ring" of castles intended to subdue Wales in medieval times, remains as a picturesque reminder of the ultimate futility of the invader's ambition.
A period of comparative peace was brought to an end by the Wars of the Roses. In 1460 the castle was held by Lancastrian forces and endured a siege which is said to have lasted seven years. The constable, Dafydd ap Ieuan \dā′ fīth ū ī′ an [or David Bevan], and his garrison held out long after other Lancastrian commanders in England and Wales had surrendered to the Yorkist faction and Alan Reid, in The Castles of Wales, [New Ed. (John Jones Publishing, 1973] tells us the following story:
"(David) ... widened his fame by replying to one summons to surrender with the boast that he had once held a castle in France so long against siege that all the old women of Wales talked of it; and now he would hold a castle in Wales until all the old women of France talked of it."
Eventually famine forced surrender and (David) handed the castle to Lord Herbert and his brother Sir Richard Herbert on honourable terms. King Edward IV at first refused to honour the terms of the settlement but Sir Richard Herbert, out of respect for the bravery of the defenders, is said to have offered his own life in exchange for (David’s) rather than see his promise broken. These defenders were the Men of Harlech commemorated in the song.
The Welsh version of the march has maintained the same martial melody but it has received numerous lyrical adaptations. I have chosen this one to give you the idea of the mindset of those who “held the fort”:
This anthem crystallizes the attitude that free people must possess in order to remain free. We have observed today the mental attitude of Anglo-Saxon and Celtic courage in the face of protagonists that have challenged the freedom of our British and American citizens.
In doing so we salute those who have served both nations “on the battle field.” It is the heritage of our forefathers that have inspired the military of this country to take on any who would bring to peril the lives, liberty, and property of the people of this client nation.
Just as these warriors have their marching songs, so do we as combatants on the battlefields of the Invisible War. Sometime early in his ministry, Colonel Thieme took creative pen in hand and crafted a hymn to fit the music of this Welsh march. He titled it “Christian Soldier.” Here is the lyric:
(R. B. Thieme, Jr.)
1. Christian soldier with Christ soaring
Do not fear the devil’s roaring
Wave on wave of Satan’s demons
Clank with groaning sound.
’Tis the thrust of Satan’s dagger
Sin and death to make men stagger;
With their unbelief in darkness
They shall die in hell.
Gospel of salvation
In Christ a new creation
The Word of God now going forth
Shall launch its bolts of thunder.
Onward through our Christ who saved us,
He is mighty, He who raised us;
Honor Christ, the Lord of Glory,
Jesus Christ, our King.
2. Christian soldier, you’re victorious
Trusting Christ the strong and glorious
Faith with faith a mighty vict’ry
Conquers sin and death.
’Tis the faith that gives salvation
Precious blood of our redemption;
Whether poor, or weak, or broken,
You can trust in Christ.
He’s the King of kings
He’s the Lord of lords.
He shall come with trumpet sound,
And we shall all come with Him.
Onward ’tis our Christ who leads us;
He is mighty to redeem us;
Honor Christ, the Lord who saved us,
Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Today we introduce a new selection into our church’s hymnody. The lyrics are on the board. Eric Parsons will now come forward and lead you in the singing of “Christian Soldier.”
NOTE: See visual, “Christian Soldier”
Biblical Authorization for Memorial Day:
It is only fitting that churches take the time to honor the soldiers who are part of its membership. For without the military preserving our national freedom, it would be impossible for us to worship God and to grow in grace. Therefore, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the nation’s entire armed forces and especially those few who are members of this congregation. Such recognition is biblically sanctioned by the honor roll of David’s Men of Valor found in 2 Samuel 23.
Most of the men mentioned in this passage are found nowhere else in Scripture thus emphasizing the fact that it was God’s desire to preserve their names forever in the eternal record.
These men were all loyal to David and served client nation Israel with skill and courage on the field of honor.
2 Samuel 23:8 - These are the names of David’s men of valor: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.
v. 9 - Next to him was Eleazar son of Dodai the Ahohite. As one of the three mighty men, he was with David when they taunted the Philistines gathered at Pas Dammim for battle. Then the men of Israel retreated,
v.10 - but he stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. The Lord brought about a great victory that day. The troops returned to Eleazar, but only to strip the dead.
2 Samuel 23:11 - Next to him was Shammah son of Agee the Hararite. When the Philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them.
v. 12 - But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.
2 Samuel 23:18 - Abishai the brother of Joab son of Zeruiah was chief of the thirty. He raised his spear against three hundred men, whom he killed, and so he became as famous as the three.
v. 19 - He was most honored among the thirty. He was their commander even though he was not included among the three.
v. 20 - Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.
v. 21 - And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.
v. 22 - Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.
v. 23 - He was held in greater honor than any of the thirty, but he was not included among the three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.
From verse 24 through 39, the Holy Spirit sees fit to record the names of the thirty. To eliminate some confusion, I will only mention their names although the passage gives additional information on many of them such as the name of some of their fathers or place of their births. And so the honor roll of David’s Men of Valor continues in:
Here in the Word of God we see a listing of honored warriors who served David in defense of client nation Israel. Thus a precedent is established which authorizes the recognition by name of those who place their lives at jeopardy in the service of their country.
Accordingly, we no salute those who are presently serving on active duty in the armed forces of the United States who are associated with Grace Doctrine Church:
David Carnagua, Daniel Clayton, Debby Danyluk, Robert Danyluk, Kyle Davey, Mark Davey, Mike Frazier, Jeff Davies, Joel Grubbs, Eric Hamilton, Lee Hatfield, Micah Jaeger, Ryan Job, Hal Keistler, Dustin Kuechler, Nick Martin, Brad May, Andy Merz, Ed Merz, Scott McFarland, H. R. McMaster, Nancy Nowatny, Tyler Risty, Michael Rountree, Jr., Scott Shaffer, Charles Simmons, Jared Smith, Eric Timmerman, Peter Todsen III, Brett Turner, Curtis Vaughn, Andy Whiskeyman, Matthew Wojciechowski, Brad Wright, Randy Zeeger, and Michael Modeer.
Heavenly Father, we come to you today with gratitude and thanksgivings for those who throughout the history of our client nation have served, bled, and died so that we might enjoy the benefits of freedom and the sunshine of halcyon days by which we may grow in grace. It is imperative that a client nation, a free people, and your children have the environment necessary to make the advance to the high ground of spiritual maturity so as to wage effective battle in the Invisible War.
It is due to the selfless service of those who have gone before and who presently draw duty in the armed forces of this country that we enjoy such privileges. So today we salute these people who are the martial promachoi who make it possible for us to do our spiritual duty in the Lord’s phalanx.
Protect those in harm’s way. Enable them to defeat and conquer the sons of Hagar. If it be Your will, bring them each and all safely home. But for those who are bound for your glory or to the judgment seat, may they depart with the earthly glory that is due them for following the code of duty, honor country.
As we depart to enjoy the comforts and accouterments of freedom may we take time to reflect upon and remember the sacrifice of so many who have made our lives prosperous and safe: to say a prayer for those who serve, offer a kind word for one who has gone before, give a mental salute to all who have fallen, and to maintain a mental memorial for the armed forces of these United States and the freedom they have bought and continue to purchase with their time, their blood, and their very lives.
And we lift our prayer in the name of the one who is the Lord of the Armies, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“The Star-Spangled Banner”:
(Francis Scott Key)
1. Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glair, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-spangled Banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?
4. Oh, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power than hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!”
And the Star-spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.