Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On My Honor....

On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey all the laws, to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight. I shall be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. As an American, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners, to be considerate of the outdoors, to be careful with fire, and to be conservation minded. Can anybody really argue with these words?

Yes, I changed it just a bit to leave out the dreaded “S” word. Taken as a generic pledge of personal accountability however, where dare I ask, can a decent, law abiding citizen disagree? Oh but they do.

I say these words each week, right after I say the Pledge of Allegiance, facing a US flag, in uniform, at attention, and with a salute. Just for the record, “one Nation under God” does not have a comma or a pause; it is one phrase that has been morphed over the years to being two parts. Trying to change it back is not easy, but someday I will succeed.

I remember saying the Pledge in school every morning. I remember saying a prayer in school every now and then, not sure why, but we did. We picked up our trash, waved at our neighbors, and played outside until the streetlights came on. As I was driving home today, I decided it was time to relive my past…sort of. The yard was a mess from all the trash that blows out of passing garbage trucks and a dead raccoon has laid on my street side property for over a week. Thinking about my weekly pledge, I decided I needed to do my duty to my country, to help others, and to be clean in my outdoor manners. With a shovel and some rubber gloves, I scooped up that poor decomposing critter and laid it under a fallen tree in my woods. Other animals will be able to use that carcass and I sure as heck was not going to wait any longer on the city to care for it. A dead skunk is further up the road and well into three weeks of deterioration. I may have to walk the mile up there and move it to a nearby field. Even a dead animal deserves some kindness and courtesy.

Next, I picked up a full garbage bag of trash, including a pair of discarded Ralph Lauren pants. Who throws out Ralph Lauren pants? Large branches littered the yard so I became conservation minded and tossed them back into the woods as well. In the process of property line pick up, an employee of the business behind us was returning from their dumpster. She let out a tremendous sneeze. I don’t think she knew I was in the woods, because when I called out “God bless you!” I think she may have wet her pants. (I was just being friendly!) In the interest of being physically strong as well as thrifty, in a few moments, I will walk over to pick up dinner for my son, walk it to the local school, do a few laps around the track, and then walk back.

My point is this, for as much as some groups complain about “my “ group, we still have a pretty darn good set of values, some decent rules to live by, and if others would just follow bits and pieces of it every day as well, this world would be all that much better. One last motto we live by is to leave something or someplace better than you found it. Can’t argue with that one either. So do a good turn every day and in return, good things will come to you, maybe not materially or physically, but your soul will certainly notice. Happy 100th Birthday to the vision of Colonel Powell (later to be a Major General), you left this world better than you found it, and we will continue that legacy for you to the best of our ability, and I pledge that on my honor.

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