U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye: Duty, Honor, Country
|U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii was instrumental in securing funds for the rebuilding of Padgett-Thomas Barracks.|
A week ago, I took a special trip to The Citadel of the North, and there I was reminded that the motto was, "Duty, Honor, Country." These are very important words in the history of the United States. And yet, many Americans find it extremely difficult to use them because they think that it's a bit pretentious and not real. But it was duty that made those young men go through a bitter winter with no shoes at Valley Forge. It was honor and a love of country that still did not exist that made these men leave farms and families and fortunes.
Yes, "Duty, Honor, Country" are important words in our history, and they've been important in my life. As Fritz pointed out, I was a young man when December 7th came along, but I was given the good fortune of volunteering. When I was accepted, my father said, "I must accompany you to the assembly point."
My father was not scholar, nor was he an intellectual. He very seldom said things, but whenever he spoke, he spoke wisely.
And just before we got to the assembly point, he cleared his throat and he looked at me and said, "This country has been good to us. We owe this country a lot. Whatever you do, do not bring dishonor to it, and if you must die, die with honor."
Two weeks ago I returned from China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore. And a week before, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. There was one thing in common with all these places--the specter of terrorism. And I was so gratified to see so many men and women in the uniform of this nation standing in harm's way--in the air, on the sea, and on the ground, fighting our battles, and if necessary, giving their lives in our behalf.
I have the good fortune of serving as chairman of the Defense Appropriations Committee. And so as you can imagine, there are many citizens who constantly call and say, "You're spending too much for defense."
I don't think so. As far as I am concerned, if a young man or women is willing to stand in harm's way in my behalf, and in behalf of our nation, nothing is too good for him or her.
The building that we will break ground for today and dedicate will be the training area and the hall of heroes for the leaders of tomorrow. That is why the Congress felt it was appropriate to use taxpayers' money anticipating the construction of this building. And incidentally, I just got another marching order from Fritz Hollings. Whenever he says, "I want something," I never say no.
We're going to get a new rifle range for you.
If we want our young men and women to stand in harm's way, the least we can do is to train them to defend themselves.
Yes, "Duty, Honor, and Country" have been important to all of us. This country is a great country. We make mistakes, but we acknowledge these mistakes, and we try our best to improve ourselves. This is a nation of diversity, and so we're bound to have problems--different peoples, different ethnic groups, and yet, we're trying our best. And looking about at the Corps of Cadets here, I'm convinced that our future is in good hands. And so to all of you, to all of the cadets, I wish you Godspeed. God bless America.