August 30, 2004

CLOAK

VDH's newest contains a really nice quote from Thucydides:

For there is justice in the claim that steadfastness in his country's battles should be as a cloak to cover a man's other imperfections; since the good action has blotted out the bad, and his merit as a citizen more than outweighed his demerits as an individual.

Unfortunately, there are many here who work and live on post who look down their noses at our Soldiers. However, I often agree with Thucydides: a Soldier's service, if it is noble, trumps his faults. Among the students I've had in my classes, there have been several who have been in and out of jail, who were in dangerous gangs, and who previously just generally didn't contribute much to society. In any other circumstances, I can't imagine how I would have ever come to associate with people of that background. But selfless service can cloak a myriad of imperfections. He may have been a dumb kid who landed himself in jail, but now he's a dedicated leader who's aiming for an E-7. He may have been a dangerous gangbanger, but now he's found religion and a life of responsibility as a father and husband. He may have been a drug-dealing punk who joined because the courts forced him, but now he's thinking of making a career of it. For me, the minute they put on that uniform -- as long as they live by the values it represents -- they have earned respect and dignity, despite their individual flaws.

Posted by: Sarah at 02:57 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 Well said. Kerry could never grasp that. Nor his followers in the '70s.

Posted by: Mike at August 30, 2004 07:46 AM (MqNKC)

2 There's a very interesting novel, "The Ship," by the author of the Hornblower novels. It was written as propaganda in WWII, but is very enlightening on the subject you raise. The author describes about 20 members of the crew of a cruiser, and discusses what motivates each of them. In the end, the man who saves the ship (after it is hit by enemy fire) is a person with marginal intelligence, a frequent drunk whose behavior problems have been so bad that the Captain was planning to have him thrown out of the Navy.

Posted by: David Foster at August 30, 2004 11:34 AM (XUtCY)

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