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of RED RIVER VALLEY
|May 2005 Character Quality -- Honor
|the following editorial article was written by Gloria Cooper for publication in The Paris News --
The halls of Walter Reed Hospital were hushed and peaceful as the staff moved from patient to
patient, doing what they could do for each one. Wounded soldiers and Pentagon officials
recovered in their assigned rooms, many heavily bandaged and in traction. The door to the
room of a Lieutenant Colonel opened and two people stepped in. They were there to thank the
soldiers and volunteers for their service. The wounded soldier listened as the President began
thanking him for his sacrifice. Towards the close of their visit, the President saluted him. The
Lt. Colonel, in traction, took nearly 20 seconds to return the salute, but his Commander-in-Chief
never broke his salute. Military protocol requires the subordinate to initiate and hold the salute
until his superior returns it. In this case, President Bush put himself in the position of the
subordinate to show high honor and respect for the wounded soldiers’ valor.
The Apostle Peter charged us to “Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, and honor
the king.” We show honor by giving due respect to others rather than demanding it ourselves.
In earlier days, our parents and grandparents were taught to show respect to others with their
manners. They would open doors for women and let the aged take their seats. Sadly, in today’
s modern culture these customs are becoming less and less common. In the South, we still say,
“yes sir,” and “thank you, ma’am” which is very pleasant to hear. This is a wonderful way for us
to continue to uphold our heritage. These ways are not “old – fashioned” but they are based on
eternal values. Remember “all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our Creator with
certain, unalienable rights…life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
We also show honor in our behavior by maintaining a high degree of personal integrity.
Proverbs 15:33 states, “Before honor is humility.” Therefore, we receive honor as we give of
ourselves. The more we boast and brag, the less people think of us. However, the more we
quietly work and serve, the more highly we are esteemed. Deeds speak louder than words.
Instead of talking about what you are going to do, just do it; then give the praise to those who
have helped you along the way. If we do our jobs faithfully and with excellence, we have no
need to brag. Honorable deeds are simply “doing the right thing.” It is honorable to give money
back to the cashier if she gives too much change. It is honorable to admit you are wrong, even
if you did a dishonorable thing; and it is always and noble deed to deny yourself in order to
bless someone else.
We receive several benefits for being honorable. When we keep our word, people will trust us.
When we fulfill our responsibilities, greater opportunities arise. Honor earns a hearing. It
communicates how strongly you support others, and it gives them a desire to pay attention when
you speak. Most importantly, honor strengthens relationships and creates a presence of
harmony in the home.
During the war in Vietnam, most of our soldiers who where captured endured torture or death.
In a particular camp, not one man denied his country nor lost his integrity. One phrase kept
these men from breaking and giving vital information to the enemy. When one of them was
summoned for a hearing, the others would exhort him with a whisper, “Return with honor.” Every
man that survived still remembers that inspiring message and the courage and strength it gave
him. We build monuments for these men because they esteemed honor more highly than their
lives. The men who signed the Declaration of Independence had to live the last line: “We
pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”
We may not be called upon to die for our honor, but we are called upon daily to give honor
where it is due. Let us remember to respect our elders, our authorities, and our leaders at all
times. Treat others with dignity. Make a pledge to keep your word and always strive for the
highest standards. Above all, stay humble!
Portions of this article have been adapted from Character First! material. For more information about the
Character First! program and resources contact: Character Training Institute, 520 W. Main Street, Oklahoma
City, OK 73102, (405) 815-0001. Visit the Character Council of Red River Valley at www.character-paris.org.