DUTY, Honor, Country on Veterans Day
By: Retired Col Sal Herrera
It is great to be part of a Clarksville community that is so supportive of our Military and Veterans. After my 25-year Army career (now retired for 3 years), it is humbling to reflect on not only the continued courageous service of our Active Duty Military but also on all Veterans, as well as my career. Long story short: I spent approximately 18 years of my service here at Fort Campbell, KY as part of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. I sure did learn A LOT along the way…but looking back it was my beginnings that really shaped my life and my military career. In 1987 I entered the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. USMA has a structure of three words that embraces their ideals…Duty, Honor, Country. These ideals create the foundation for all future Army Officers to lean on. I wanted to spend a little time elaborating on DUTY. What is it?
When I was a Plebe (Freshman Cadet) we had menial tasks which included delivering the NY Times to every upper classman’s door in the barracks …every single day. When it was your turn you had to “ping” against the walls and march briskly like a robot to each door with your pile of newspapers. As you can imagine on Sunday mornings the newspapers were thick and heavy, and most upperclassmen slept in! So while delivering early morning newspapers, it was sooooo tempting to just stroll in the middle of the hallway at my leisure to deliver those newspapers and forgo the craziness of marching against the walls. But as one Firstie (Senior Cadet) described, “Duty is doing the right thing even when no one is looking…like delivering Sunday newspapers!” Those wise words continue to resonate with me today as I work and live my life.
Another way I look at DUTY is as an acrostic:
Do! – Do the right thing! Take action and do…but just do right!!
Unite! – Be one with your team by uniting! Your team could be your school, your family, your job or all of the above, but work to unite (not divide)!
Trust! – Be trustworthy and dependable, but more importantly trust others! Start by giving people the benefit of the doubt!
You! – Be yourself! Don’t be afraid to be you! Each of us bring so many different perspectives and these disparate viewpoints can be powerful….even invincible!
Duty is definitely delivering the newspapers correctly, but it also can be life changing…it was for me!
Lastly, I want to thank all our Veterans for their service; and I want to give a special thanks to our military supportive community of Clarksville and specifically Clarksville Academy.
I encourage you to view the inspirational address General Douglas MacArthur presented to the cadets of the USMA on 12 May 1962 – Titled “Duty Honor Country” click here: