PO Box 239, Pratt, KS 67124

Truth Might Hurt

We have been honored to experience many once-in-a-lifetime moments. We had our share this weekend.

In 1997, good friends from Texas informed us their twin sons had been accepted into military academies. One was entering the Naval Academy; the other (David) the Air Force Academy.

Our home became home-away-from home for David during his 4 years at the Academy (1997-2001). 7 years after graduation, he married our daughter. They now have four children. Many of us (including Deana and I) were on the field for that special moment (called a “fini-flight”) when he landed his F-16 for the last time Friday.

In 2 days of military traditions associated with retirement, I recalled a meaningful moment in David’s experience as a cadet.

As long as there are upper and lower classmen, there will be pain associated with rites-of-passage (even with hazing forbidden). In a hallway during his Freshman year, David saw upperclassmen coming so he dodged inevitable discomfort by going through a restroom.

Later, he denied their accusation of avoiding them. He knew instantly he had violated the honor code. He confessed the lie to his Honor Representative and endured stringent punishment.

At the same, our U.S. Commander in Chief was discovered to be lying when he told Americans, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” (direct quote from Bill Clinton in the January 26th, 1998 White House news conference). Clinton (similar to Nixon 20 years before and many before and since) continued to double-down on blatant lies.

Truth is no longer a commodity of value in our nation’s political circles.

But real honor is based on truth.


Think About it

I wish I knew who first said it, but the following has been passed around in our circles;

The truth may hurt you. It might cost you. It can embarrass you or worse. But it is always right (or a variant, “it will always set you free”).

Names like Nixon, Clinton and others are known by the asterisks associated with their stories. David was honored as a man of integrity. No asterisk.

What if attorneys simply sought truth? What if politicians spoke only truth?

Will your life, marriage and service be associated with asterisks, justifications or excuses?

You can’t serve better than you live. You know where to start.

Comments (5)

Thank you Harry — and thanks most of all to all who have faithfully served an honor code.

Reminds me of my freshman year as a Cadet at Virginia Tech; we did have hazing and we had the same honor code. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do. That can be hard, there is no wiggle room. In reality there should be no wiggle room. First quarter, outside a math class one of my new friends/classmates spoke in a wandering admission that he had cheated on the last test. The last thing I wanted to do was get him in trouble, but we did have the code and did I want someone to cheat his way to the same degree that I would earn over the next four years? I never saw him again after the Honor Court hearing, I hoped he learned and did well in his life.

As to the final flight as pilot in command, mine was not in a supersonic aircraft although I might mention I did go Mach Two once; in fact mine was in a 110 MPH Ag Cat in September 2017, ending a fifty year career in an airplane I had flown forty three years. It was a sad day for me. I did get a ride in a P 51 on 27 March 2019, so I was blessed in an aviation career beyond measure.

Jim, you are an American treasure — I really mean that. I love the times I have listened to your stories or shot beside you on the gun range at Front Site in Nevada. I cherish your stories and look forward to our next cup of coffee across the table! I was able to show the movie “October Sky” to my grandchildren recently and told them I know a man who was a close classmate and friend of Homer!

You know, many crop-dusters “fini-flights” were not intended to be their final. At least yours was scheduled. Now your friends and family can celebrate it as an anniversary and not a traumaversary!

Thanks Carl, I am humbled by your comments. Yes we have buried so many good men, Last summer a friend from Webbers Falls, OK, Paul Goule, hit a wire and was killed. He was such an inspiration to so many. Kind of hunchbacked and with a speech impediment he overcame his challenges and succeeded in a dangerous profession as an agricultural aviator for many years, something not everyone can do. He had the most wonderful sense of humor and lead a Sunday School class for boys at his local church for many years. Truly an unsung hero. Thanks again for what you do.

Leave a comment