Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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May 12th
Duty, Honor, Country
On May 12, 1962, West Point Military Academy awarded General Douglas MacArthur the Thayer Award, given each year to a citizen whose service to the nation has exemplified West Point’s motto, Duty, Honor, Country. The following comes from a speech MacArthur delivered to the academy’s corps of cadets in acceptance of the award:

Duty. Honor. Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. . . .

The unbelievers will say they are but words. . . . But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

American History Parade
1780
Patriot general Benjamin Lincoln surrenders Charleston, South Carolina, and more than 5,000 troops to British general Sir Henry Clinton.

1864
Some of the bloodiest fighting of the Civil War rages at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in Virginia.

1943
In World War II, Axis troops in North Africa surrender after advances by Allied forces.

1949
The Soviet Union ends its blockade of West Berlin, which the United States and Britain had overcome with the Berlin Airlift.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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