|| Search Davidson
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony,
Class of 2000
Col. David Kaufman
Saturday, May 20, 2000
THANK YOU PRESIDENT VAGT FOR YOUR WARM INTRODUCTION AND FOR YOUR KIND INVITATION TO BE WITH YOU HERE THIS MORNING AT THIS IMPORTANT CEREMONY. I AM HONORED TO BE THE SPEAKER AT THIS COMMISSIONING CERMEONY, AND I WANT TO THANK LTC ALEXANDER, MAJ BILL GEIGER, AND ALL THE FOLKS IN THE DAVIDSON ROTC DETACHMENT FOR EXTENDING ME THIS INVITATION AND FOR BEING SUCH GRACIOUS HOSTS. FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WILL GRADUATE FROM THIS WONDERFUL COLLEGE TOMORROW AND TO THEIR FAMILIES WHO WILL NO LONGER RECEIVE THOSE TWICE YEARLY LOVE LETTERS FROM THE DAVIDSON COMPTROLLER, PLEASE LET ME ADD MY CONGRATULATIONS. I KNOW YOUR FAMILIES ARE PROUD OF YOU, AND YOU HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO TAKE PRIDE IN WHAT YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS.
THE OCCASION OF GRADUATING AND BEING COMMISSIONED INTO THE UNITED STATES ARMY REPRESENTS YOUR ACHIEVEMENT OF ONE SET OF GOALS AND, I HOPE, YOUR DEDICATION TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A NEW, EVEN MORE DEMANDING SET OF GOALS. WHILE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YOUNG PEOPLE WILL BE GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS AHEAD, ONLY A VERY SMALL AND SELECT NUMBER WILL BE COMMISSIONED AS OFFICERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY. PLEASE ACCEPT MY CONGRATULATIONS, AS WELL AS MY ADMIRATION AND RESPECT, FOR WHAT YOU HAVE ACHIEVED.
THE COMPLETION OF YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION PROVIDES THE VERY BASIS OF YOUR SERVICE AS COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. IT IS TOWARD THE NOTION OF EDUCATION THAT I WOULD LIKE TO DIRECT MY REMARKS TODAY. I NEED NOT EXTOL THE VIRTUES OF A BROAD EDUCATION TO THIS GROUP. I WOULD NOTE THAT THE ISSUE OF HOW TO EDUCATE PUBLIC SERVANTS, PARTICULARLY SOLDIERS, HAS BEEN A SUBJECT OF DISCUSSION FOR CENTURIES. IN HIS CLASSIC WORK THE REPUBLIC, PLATO ASCRIBES TO SOCRATES THE FOLLOWING OBSERVATION ON THE ISSUE:
"WHAT OTHER PEOPLE WILL YOU COMPEL TO BECOME GUARDIANS OF THE CITY RATHER THAN THOSE THAT HAVE THE BEST KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRINCIPLES THAT MAKE FOR THE BEST GOVERNMENT OF THE CITYŠ.OUR GUARDIAN MUST BE BOTH A WARRIOR AND A PHILOSOPHER." HOW TO INSTILL THAT "BEST KNOWLEDGE" IN SOCIETY'S GUARDIANS IS A QUESTION THAT HAS RESONATED THROUGH THE AGES.
WRITING ON THE SAME SUBJECT ABOUT TWO THOUSAND YEARS AFTER PLATO, IN 1673, JOHN MILTON, OLD, BLIND, HIS HEAD ALIVE WITH VISIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS, BUT STILL EVER THE REVOLUTIONARY, PUBLISHED THE SECOND EDITION OF AN EIGHT-PAGE TRACT THAT HE HAD FIRST WRITTEN THIRTY YEARS EARLIER. THAT LITTLE PAMPHLET IS CALLED SIMPLY OF EDUCATION, AND IT IS ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL TREATISES ON EDUCATION EVER WRITTEN IN ENGLISH.
SEVERAL PAGES INTO THIS TREATISE, MILTON SAYS THE FOLLOWING: "I CALLŠA COMPLETE AND GENEROUS EDUCATION THAT WHICH FITS A PERSON TO PERFORM JUSTLY, SKILLFULLY, AND MAGNANIMOUSLY ALL THE OFFICES, BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, OF PEACE AND WAR." AN EDUCATION TO PREPARE ONE TO PERFORM THE OFFICES OF PEACE AND WAR IS YOUR EDUCATION, TOO. THE COMPLETION OF YOUR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION, REGARDLESS OF ACADEMIC DISCIPLINE, AND THE TRAINING YOU RECEIVED AT DAVIDSON COMBINE TO PROVIDE WHAT MILTON CALLED "A COMPLETE AND GENEROUS EDUCATION."
THE ULTIMATE END OF MILTON'S VISION OF EDUCATION IS THE MAKING OF A CITIZEN WHO WOULD ACTIVELY AND FORCEFULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE SHAPING AND THE SERVING AND THE PROTECTING OF THE STATE. IT IS MILTON'S VISION THAT I CHALLENGE ALL OF YOU WHO WILL BE GRADUATES OF THIS INSTITUTION TO UPHOLD: TO SHAPE, AND TO SERVE, AND TO PROTECT. ALL ARE THE DUTIES OF A GOOD CITIZEN, AS WELL AS THOSE OF A GOOD SOLDIER. IN AMERICA, IT HAS EVER BEEN THE CASE THAT IN ORDER TO MAKE A GOOD SOLDIER, ONE MUST FIRST MAKE THE GOOD CITIZEN. UNLIKE MOST SOCIETIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE WEST, IN THIS SOCIETY THESE TWO ROLES ARE HARDLY IN CONFLICT OR INCOMPATIBLE; INDEED, THEY MUST ALWAYS REMAIN COMPATIBLE IF OUR SOCIETY IS TO RETAIN ITS SPECIAL CHARACTER. FOR THOSE WHO ARE PRIVILEGED TO JOIN THE RANKS OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, THE CHALLENGE AND THE STANDARDS REMAIN AS THEY HAVE BEEN FOR OVER TWO CENTURIES: TO SHAPE, AND TO SERVE, AND TO PROTECT.
WHILE THE ENDS OF PUBLIC DUTY REMAIN UNCHANGED,THE WORLD IN WHICH THESE DUTIES ARE TO BE PERFORMED HAS CHANGED IMMENSELY. THE EXHILARATING EVENTS OF THE PAST DECADE LED HISTORIAN FRANCIS FUKUYAMA TO DECLARE THE "END OF HISTORY." IF YOU HAVE NOT READ HIS ARTICLE OF THAT NAME, I COMMEND IT TO YOU. FUKUYAMA ARGUED THAT THE GREAT PHILOSOPHICAL DISPUTES OF THE 20TH CENTURY HAD BEEN RESOLVED. DEMOCRACY HAD TRIUMPHED FIRST OVER FASCISM, THEN COMMUNISM. IN FUKUYAMA'S VIEW, THERE WERE NO FUNDAMENTAL IDEOLOGICAL CONFLICTS REMAINING.
FUKUYAMA IS, OF COURSE, WRONG. THERE ARE MANY PLACES IN THE WORLD WHERE THE NOTION OF DEMOCRACY IS NOT ONLY ALIEN, IT IS HOSTILE. WHAT WE KNOW IS THAT HUMANKIND IS COMPOSED OF LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF DIFFERENT GROUPS, MANY WITH VERY DIFFERENT IDEAS ABOUT HOW THE WORLD OUGHT TO WORK. ONE NEED ONLY LOOK AT THE SAVAGERIES INFLICTED BY OPPOSING GROUPS THROUGHOUT SOUTHERN EUROPE, CENTRAL AFRICA, AFGHANISTAN, AND INDONESIA TO KNOW THAT ETHNICITY, RELIGION, HISTORY, CULTURE, AND GEOGRAPHY ALL STILL PLAY A CRITICAL ROLE IN DETERMINING HOW PEOPLE SEE THE WORLD AND HOW THEY RESPOND TO IT.
WHAT THEN DO THESE CHANGES OF RECENT YEARS MEAN FOR THE WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE, FOR THE NATION THAT WE SERVE, FOR THE ARMY YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENTER, AND FOR OURSELVES AS CITIZENS? WHILE THE EVENTS OF RECENT YEARS ARE EXHILARATING, WE NEED TO REMIND OURSELVES THAT THE FUTURE IS NOT NECESSARILY BENIGN; IT MAY BE, BUT IT IS NOT AUTOMATIC. TO ENSURE AN INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT THAT IS AMENABLE TO AMERICAN NOTIONS OF A SOCIETY BASED ON JUSTICE, EQUALITY, AND DIGNITY FOR ALL, THE UNITED STATES WILL HAVE TO REMAIN AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN THE "GAME" OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS. TO BE SURE, SOME OF THE TRADITIONAL INSTRUMENTS OF INFLUENCE WILL HAVE TO CHANGE; ARMORED DIVISIONS ARE NOT PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE IN DEALING WITH QUESTIONS OF OVERPOPULATION OR ECOLOGICAL DEGRADATION. (AS WE ALL KNOW, HOWEVER, ARMORED DIVISIONS ARE THE PERFECT INSTRUMENT FOR DEALING WITH EVERY OTHER SORT OF PROBLEM). THEREFORE, THE REQUIREMENT FOR U.S. INVOLVEMENT, "ENGAGEMENT," WILL REMAIN, REGARDLESS OF WHICH PARTY OCCUPIES THE WHITE HOUSE.
FURTHERMORE, THE UNITED STATES WILL CONTINUE TO HAVE GLOBAL INTERESTS. AS THE ONLY TRUE SUPERPOWER IN THE WORLD, THE UNITED STATES HAS SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITIES ATTENDANT TO NO OTHER NATION. HOWEVER VEXING OR INSOLUABLE SOME OF THE ISSUES MAY SEEM, THE UNITED STATES CANNOT AVOID THE RESPONSIBILITIES INHERENT IN ITS POSITION AS THE PHILOSOPHICAL, AS WELL AS ECONOMIC, LEADER, OF THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM. AND, HOWEVER MUCH WE MIGHT WISH IT OTHERWISE, THERE WILL REMAIN FORCES IN THE WORLD INIMICAL TO AMERICAN INTERESTS AND PHILOSOPHIES.
CONSEQUENTLY, THERE WILL REMAIN THE NEED FOR AN AMERICAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT CAPABLE OF DEFENDING THOSE INTERESTS WHERE EVER THEY MIGHT BE THREATENED. TO BE SURE, THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF UNCERTAINTY SURROUNDING THE SIZE AND STRUCTURE OF THE ARMED FORCES THAT THIS NATION NEEDS. AS A SOCIETY, WE ARE RIGHTFULLY ENGAGED IN A DEBATE OVER HOW MUCH OF OUR NATIONAL TREASURE TO DEVOTE TO THE DEFENSE OF INTERESTS THAT NO LONGER SEEM TO BE AS THREATENED AS THEY ONCE WERE, OR THAT COULD BE DEFENDED THRU THE ENHANCED EFFORTS OF NO LONGER IMPOVERISHED ALLIES.
I WOULD ONLY REMIND ALL OF US HERE THAT UNCERTAINTY IS NOT NEW. IN 1930 THERE WERE NO APPARENT THREATS ON THE HORIZON EITHER, AND THE NATION WAS STRUGGLING WITH ENORMOUS ECONOMIC DISLOCATIONS RESULTING FROM THE ONSET OF THE DEPRESSION. IN LITTLE MORE THAN A DECADE, HOWEVER, THE NATION WAS ENGAGED IN A CONFLICT OF GLOBAL PROPORTIONS. ONLY FIVE YEARS AFTER THAT WAR ENDED, WE FOUND OURSELVES FIGHTING IN AN ISOLATED COUNTRY UNKNOWN TO MOST AMERICANS UNTIL ITS SOLDIERS BEGAN TO DIE IN AN EXOTIC PLACE CALLED KOREA.
ONLY TEN YEARS AFTER THE ARMISTACE IN KOREA WE DEPLOYED AN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE OF OVER 500,000 SOLDIERS TO VIETNAM. WHEN I ENTERED THE MILITARY ACADEMY IN 1964, I CONFESS I HAD BARELY HEARD OF VIETNAM. FIVE YEARS LATER I WAS THERE. IN 1989, PUNDITS SUCH AS FRANCIS FUKUYAMA DECLARED THE END OF HISTORY AS THE SOVIET UNION MOVED ONTO THE ASHHEAP OF HISTORY. YET, IN 1991 WE FOUGHT A MAJOR THEATER WAR IN THE DESERTS OF SOUTHWEST ASIA. YOU ALL KNOW WELL THE HISTORY OF ENGAGEMENT IN THE LAST DECADE: SOMALIA, HAITI, RWANDA, BOSNIA, KOSOVO. TODAY AMERICAN SOLDIERS ARE SERVING IN OVER 60 COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD, DOING EVERYTHING FROM SEPARATING WARRING FACTIONS IN KOSOVO TO TEACHING OFFICERS THE PROPER ROLE OF A MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT IN A DEMOCRACY IN THE NATIONS OF THE FORMER SOVIET UNION.
I HAVE NOT EVEN HAD THE TEMERITY TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE OF TECHNOLOGICAL UNCERTAINTY. I'LL LEAVE THAT ONE TO THE PROFESSIONAL SOOTHSAYERS. BUT I WOULD NOTE THAT TWO COMMERCIAL FIRMS CLAIM THEY WILL COMPLETE THE MAPPING OF THE HUMAN GENOME BY THE END OF THIS MONTH, SO BY THE TIME YOU COMMAND BATTALIONS YOU COULD WELL BE GETTING CUSTOM-DESIGNED, GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED SOLDIERS. COMBINE ADVANCES IN BIOENGINEERING WITH ADVANCES IN QUANTUM COMPUTING OR BIO-COMPUTING, ADVANCES THAT MAKE TODAY'S FASTEST COMPUTERS LOOK LIKE A SLIDE RULE (ASK YOUR PARENTS WHAT A SLIDE RULE IS), AND WHAT YOU HAVE IS A TECHONOLOGICAL AND OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT THAT WE CAN ONLY SPECULATE ABOUT. BUT IT WILL BE HERE, DURING YOUR ADULT LIFETIME.
WHAT ALL THIS TELLS ME IS THAT WHILE THE EXACT STRUCTURE OF THE ARMY WILL BE DEBATED IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE, THE NEED FOR THE INSTITUTION IS NO LESS SALIENT, EVEN IF THE EXACT NATURE OF ITS EMPLOYMENT CANNOT BE ARTICULATED WITH PRECISION. IT IS AKIN TO AN INSURANCE SALESMAN OFFERING TO SELL YOU A LIFE INSURANCE POLICY ONLY IF YOU COULD TELL HIM THE EXACT DATE AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR DEMISE. IF SUCH PRECISION WERE POSSIBLE, NO INSURANCE WOULD BE NECESSARY.
WHAT, THEN DOES THIS MEAN FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE ABOUT TO EMBARK ON YOUR CAREERS OF PUBLIC SERVICE? IT MEANS THAT THIS NATION NEEDS THE SERVICES OF ITS TALENTED YOUNG PEOPLE NO LESS TODAY THAN IT DID IN ANY PREVIOUS YEAR. INDEED, THE UNCERTAINTIES OF TODAY'S WORLD PROBABLY REQUIRE THOSE TALENTS EVEN MORE. IN UNIFORM OR OUT, REMEMBER YOUR CHALLENGE: TO SHAPE, TO SERVE, TO PROTECT.
IN THAT VEIN, THE ARMY OF TODAY IS UNIQUE. UNLIKE MOST OTHER MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS IN THE WORLD, IT IS NOT A SYMBOL OF REPRESSION OR TERROR. QUITE THE REVERSE. TO MANY MILLIONS, IT IS THE SYMBOL OF HOPE, OF FREEDOM, OF RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN BEING.
LET ME TELL YOU A STORY FROM THE PERIOD AT THE END OF THE COLD WAR. FOR FORTY YEARS, THE MISSION OF THE SECOND U.S. CAVALRY REGIMENT WAS TO PATROL THE BORDER BETWEEN WEST GERMANY AND CZECHOSLOVAKIA. BEFORE THE IRON CURTAIN FELL IN 1989, (I KNOW YOU WERE ONLY 10 OR 11 YEARS OLD AT THE TIME, BUT I ALSO KNOW YOU WERE ALL PRECOCIOUS LITTLE THINGS THAT WERE ALREADY PAYING ATTENTION TO ITERNATIONAL AFFAIRS) THE FIRST CRACKS IN THE FACADE BEGAN WHEN THE CZECH GOVERNMENT AGREED TO LET EAST GERMAN REFUGEES EMIGRATE TO THE WEST THROUGH THE CZECH BORDER. IN AN ATTEMPT TO STEM THE TIDE OF REFUGEES, THE EAST GERMAN GOVERNMENT REQUIRED EMIGRATING EAST GERMANS TO BOARD TRAINS IN EAST GERMANY AND TRAVEL TO CZECHOSLOVAKIA. THESE "FREEDOM TRAINS" AS THEY WERE CALLED HAD THE WINDOWS SEALED SO THAT THE PASSENGERS COULD NOT SEE OUT. AS THE TRAINS MADE THEIR WAY OUT OF EAST GERMANY AND THROUGH CZECHOSLOVAKIA TOWARD WEST GERMANY, THE TENSION AND SENSE OF EXCITEMENT AMONG THE PASSENGERS ROSE DRAMATICALLY. FINALLY, UNABLE TO CONTAIN HIS EXCITEMENT ANY LONGER, ONE OF THE PASSENGERS ON THE VERY FIRST "FREEDOM TRAIN" TORE THE COVER OFF THE WINDOW OF THE TRAIN IN ORDER TO SEE WHERE THEY WERE. AS IT HAPPENS, THE TRAIN HAD JUST PASSED THE CZECH/WEST GERMAN BORDER, AND THE FIRST THING THE PASSENGER SAW WAS A ROUTINE PATROL OF THE SECOND U.S. CAVALRY REGIMENT. THE MAN TURNED TO HIS FELLOW PASSENGERS AND SHOUTED: "THERE'S THE AMERICAN ARMY; WE'RE FREE!" (REPEAT)
THE ARMY YOU ARE PRIVILEGED TO JOIN HAS BEEN A SYMBOL OF FREEDOM FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY FOR OVER TWO HUNDRED YEARS. NOW, IT IS THE SYMBOL OF FREEDOM FOR MILLIONS OF OTHER PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.
TO BE SURE, THE FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN; AS I HAVE TRIED TO INDICATE, THAT IS HARDLY NEW. EVERY GENERATION FACES UNCERTAINTY. WHAT REMAINS CONSTANT IS THE NEED FOR YOUNG OFFICERS FOR WHOM THE IDEALS OF SERVICE AND SELF-SACRIFICE ARE NOT BANAL ABSTRATIONS, BUT GOALS AGAINST WHICH IT IS WORTHY TO MEASURE ONE'S EFFORTS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS. SERVICE AS AN ARMY OFFICER MEANS DEDICATION TO SOMETHING OTHER THAN SELF-AGGRANDIZEMENT. IT MEANS SELF-SACRIFICE AND DEDICATION TO THE COMMON GOOD.
TO SHAPE, TO PROTECT, AND TO DEFEND. POWERFUL, EVEN NOBLE IDEAS, BUT YOU ARE NO DOUBT ASKING YOURSELF "WHAT ROLE DO I PLAY IN ALL THIS?" THE OFFICIAL RESPONSIBILITIES YOU WILL HOLD AS OFFICERS WILL BE A CRITICAL PART OF THAT ROLE.
The Professional Officer
Societies look to professional organizations to provide functions that are essential for their well being and continuation. The military profession is one such institution, serving society as a whole, providing that which fellow citizens cannot provide for themselves national security. Officers, based on their professional competence, provide the intellectual and ethical leadership of the Army and determine the standards of the profession.
Any fundamental approach to officership must start with the commissioning Oath. The Oath of Office formalizes the moral obligation for officers, acting as agents of society, to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same." This obligation serves two purposes: the establishment of the officer's individual accountability to the Nation and the strengthening of the claim of the military profession on the affections and support of the American people. As you take this oath today, I would ask you to reflect on the words and what they truly mean for you and for the nation you will serve.
Society invests responsibility in the military profession through the officer's Commission, which charges the officer to "carefully and diligently discharge the duties of the office" and "to observe and follow" the orders and directions of the President and other superior officers "acting in accordance with the laws of the United States."
In meeting these responsibilities, professional officers are guided by a set of principles that provide the "charter" if you will for the profession. Let me describe for you what I think these principles are:
Duty. Professional officers always do their duty, subordinating their personal interests to the requirements of the professional function. They are prepared, if necessary, to lay down their own lives and the lives of their soldiers in the Nation's interest. When assigned a mission or task, its successful execution is first priority, above all else, with officers accepting full responsibility for their actions and orders in accomplishing it and accomplishing it in the right way. The officer's duty is not confined, however, to explicit orders or tasks; it extends to any circumstance involving allegiance to the commissioning oath.
Honor. An officer's honor is of paramount importance, derived through history from demonstrated courage in combat. It includes the virtues of integrity and honesty. Integrity is the personal honor of the individual officer, manifested in all roles. In peace, the officer's honor is reflected in consistent acts of moral courage. An officer's word is an officer's bond.
Loyalty. Military officers serve in a public vocation and their loyalty extends upward through the chain of command to the President as Commander in Chief and downward to all subordinates. Officers take care of their soldiers and their families. This loyalty is a central ingredient of the trust that binds together the military profession for its public servant role.
Service. An officer's motivations are noble and intrinsic: a love for the technical and human aspects of providing the Nation's security and an awareness of the moral obligation to use that expertise self-sacrificially for the benefit of society. The officer has no legacy except for the quality of his or her years of service.
Competence. The serious obligations of officership‹and the enormous consequences of professional failure‹establish professional competence as a moral imperative. More than knowing one's job or proficiency in the skills and abilities of the military art, professional competence in this sense includes attributes of worldliness, creativity and confidence. Called to their profession and motivated by their pursuit of its expertise, officers are committed to a career of continuous study and learning.
Teamwork. Officers model civility and respect for others. They understand that soldiers of a democracy value the worth and abilities of the individual, both at home and abroad. But because of the moral obligation accepted and the mortal means employed to carry out an officer's duty, the officer also emphasizes the importance of the group as against the individual. Success in war requires the subordination of the will of the individual to the task of the group. The military ethic is cooperative and cohesive in spirit, meritocratic, and fundamentally anti-individualistic and anti-careerist.
Subordination. Officers strictly observe the principle that the military is subject to civilian authority and do not involve themselves or their subordinates in domestic politics or policy beyond the exercise of the basic rights of citizenship. Military officers render candid and forthright professional judgments and advice and eschew the public advocate's role.
Leadership. Officers lead by example always, maintaining the personal attributes of spiritual, physical, and intellectual fitness that are requisite to the demands of their chosen profession and which will serve as examples to be emulated.
I HAVE FOR EACH OF YOU A COPY OF THE PRINCIPLES I HAVE JUST DESCRIBED. I THINK YOU WILL FIND THEM TO BE NOT ONLY APPROPRIATE, BUT TIMELESS. WHETHER YOUR CAREER AS AN OFFICER LASTS 5 YEARS OR 35 YEARS, THESE EIGHT PRINCIPLES SHOULD GUIDE YOU AND INFORM YOU AS YOU ASSUME THE MANTLE OF LEADERSHIP FOR YOUR GENERATION.
AND THAT IS THE CHALLENGE I WOULD LIKE TO LEAVE YOU WITH THIS MORNING. FOR IF THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE A QUALITY EDUCATION AND COMMISSIONS AS OFFICERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY DO NOT DEDICATE YOURSELF TO THE SERVICE OF THIS COUNTRY, WHETHER IN OR OUT OF UNIFORM, WHETHER ON ACTIVE DUTY OR IN THE RESERVES, IF YOU DO NOT, WHO WILL? IF THE BEST AMERICA HAS ARE NOT WILLING TO SERVE, THEN WHO WILL?
I FOR ONE AM NOT WORRIED. THE YOUNG PEOPLE I HAVE HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF KNOWING AND WORKING WITH FILL ME WITH A SENSE OF CONFIDENCE AND OPTIMISM. AS THAT NOTED POLITICAL PHILOSOPHER FORMER VICE PRESIDENT DAN QUAYLE ONCE NOTED, "THE FUTURE WILL BE BETTER TOMORROW." ONE CERTAINLY HOPES SO. FOR ALL OF THE UNCERTAINTIES, WE KNOW THAT CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOU AND FOR YOUR COUNTRY LIE AHEAD. I DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOUR TRAVELS WILL TAKE YOU, BUT I DO KNOW I ENVY YOU THE JOURNEY. I WISH YOU GOOD LUCK AND GODSPEED.
# # #
Top of Page