The following is part five of an eight-part series based on the U.S. Army Values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. The reader should discover that these tenets carry over to all facets of life and are not limited to military service.
It’s been said that it is better to die with honor than to live with shame. Honor comes in many fashions, though, and you don’t have to die to get it. When used as a noun, honor means that one has a certain faithfulness to high moral standards. A decent person with upright virtues and a good sense of respectability would easily fall in this category. When used as a verb, honor means “to recognize, to thank, or to celebrate”. An example of this is when we say the Texas Pledge, “Honor the Texas Flag…” In this sense we are showing our reverence to our great state, glorifying its unique qualities.
Honor could also be construed as an extension of self-respect. How you carry yourself, how you conduct yourself on a daily basis either exhibits honor or it doesn’t; there is no in-between. Taking the high road is almost never the easiest path, but in the long run it will take you places that an unscrupulous trail would never reach. Honor is in our conscience – or at least it should be – and it is always a reflection of our actions. It is the center of one’s moral compass and the capstone of how we are viewed as human beings.
Every day we all face challenges where we have to choose whether we are going to do the hard work or if we are going to compromise. The thing is that we can’t turn honor on and off depending on the circumstance. We have made the tough decision not to be swayed, to stand up for what’s right, even at the risk of alienation by our peers. Obstacles can deter us, but perseverance is the key to leading an honorable life.
A little poem entitled Your Name is one of my mom’s favorites and it goes like this: “You got it from your father, it was all he had to give. So, it’s yours to use and to cherish for as long as you may live. If you lose the watch, he gave you it can always be replaced, but a black mark on your name, Son can never be erased. It was clean the day you took it and a worthy name to bear. When he got it from his father there was no dishonor there. So, make sure you guard it wisely; after all is said and done, you’ll be glad the name is spotless when you give it to your son.”
Honor your parents, honor your flag, and honor yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Alan Shoalmire. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Alan Shoalmire is a resident in Grimes County and the owner of Grill Sergeant Hotdogs and submits a column to the Navasota Examiner every other week.