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.