JOINT BASE CHARLSESTON, SC –
As a military family, we have adopted and attempt to live by our core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment every day.
President Abraham Lincoln could not endure the thought of cheating anyone, even though it had been done unintentionally. One day a woman bought a bill of goods in Offutt's store amounting to something over two dollars. She paid Abe the money and went away satisfied. That night, while going over the sales of the day, Abe found that he had charged the woman six and one-fourth cents too much. After closing the store, though it was late, he could not go home to supper or to bed till he had restored that sixpence to its proper owner. She lived more than two miles away but that did not matter to Abe Lincoln. When he had returned the money to the astonished woman he walked back to the village with a long step and a light heart, content with doing his duty.
It seems however, with so much change in our culture that to have integrity to do our duty, it takes all three of our core values. We need to do our duty and be truthful. To bear false witness about another service member, to not live with the integrity and courage to speak truth when it is needed, to change the truth to suit our own desires and insecurities, to remain silent when you should speak truth, is avoiding our core value of courage. As the saying in Sunday school when I was growing up, "be sure your sins will find you out." It means that if you build your life on lies and a faulty foundation, eventually your sins will catch up with you.
I believe today you can still lead with a strong moral center. In the military, we still have a right and wrong. Here is the question. Can we know the truth? Can we face the truth? What is truth? Can we still do our duty? The reality is, "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned like a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things..." The truth is that we can never outdistance truth. Truth will always outdistance us.
Although we may desire peace in our circumstance and with others, courage may mean that we do the right thing even in the face of adversity. President Lincoln did his duty and is someone we can look up to. That is what we stand for in service to our country. Let not courage pass us by in this generation. Let us embrace the truth and do our duty.