To the editor:
Duty: “a force of moral obligation.” These four letters are powerful influences as we determine how we lead our lives and, indeed echoing throughout all recorded history of mankind, have swayed the course of all human conduct. Volumes have been written, and countless speeches have explored these four letters.
One of the most poignant and stirring was a speech delivered in 1963 by General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur as he spoke to the assembled West Point cadets; his “Duty, Honor Country” address.
Duty compels the pilot of a burning B-17 bomber to stay at his post until all crew members have safely exited the aircraft, and he is lost as the stricken plane explodes. Duty inspires a soldier to leave the relative safety of his foxhole and pull a wounded comrade to safety. A Marine on Iwo Jima falls on a grenade, his buddies live. Duty.
On the Big Blue River, five “immortal” and “bulletproof” teenagers gathered for a swim at a most dangerous location, perilously close to a roaring dam. The girl was swept over the all-too-close dam. Hoping to save her life, four youths followed her over the sinister structure.
There was no vote, no “I’ll swim to (the safety) of the shore and call for help!” No! All four boys represented the true/timeless meaning of “Duty.”
As of this writing, two boys have paid the ultimate price and demonstrated the highest human spirit of duty. Passers-by administrating CPR were true to duty. Risking their own lives, rescuers searched not for a survivor, but for a victim. Duty.
Four teenaged “boys” entered the swirling cold, sullen waters of the Big Blue that fateful day and emerged with the distinct honor of becoming real men. Many of us will leave this Earth without the honor of being called a man ….
God rest their brave Souls, and comfort their proud families …
Kenneth R. DeVoe