On May 12, 1962, General Douglas MacArthur returned to West Point to receive an honor from that venerable institution and to address the corps of cadets there.
Related Podcast: Click here to listen to Bishop O'Connell's Veterans Day message
His memorable speech presented a vision of military service that bore witness to his own long experience and to the nobility of such service. “Duty, honor, country,” he reflected to the cadets and veterans gathered there, “those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be and what you will be. They are your rallying points ...”
It was not MacArthur’s intention to glorify war but, rather, to inspire those in uniform to seek peace. “The soldier above all others,” he observed, “prays for peace for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Our nation has formally honored its military veterans since 1919. This year, as we commemorate those brave women and men in every generation who have served our country, heeding the call, when necessary, to place themselves in harms’ way for the cause of peace, let us offer our grateful prayers that their sacrifice and their service may never have been or ever will be in vain.
May true and lasting peace always be our goal, together, as one nation under God. And to our veterans on this, their day, “thank you for your service.”