In Basic at Benning you used to have to wait in the bay area for everyone to form up after chow.
There wasn't anything to do during that down time so I read my soldiers handbook.
After the first few weeks of flipping through the thing I noticed an extract in the back from The Declaration of Independence. In my book, I have the last sentence underlined.
"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our Sacred Honor."
Gives you chills, doesn't it?
Last weekend at my parents house in Richmond my dad told me about the African American men who fought in a little know battle called New Market Heights. New Market Heights was an important defensive position protecting Richmond, Virginia. In this battle, 16 African American Soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor.
The reason I bring it up is because I have since read a recount of the battle written by James S. Price and came across an excerpt that I believe sums up what sacred honor truly means.
Written on September 28, 1864, by General Benjamin Butler(commander of the Union forces in the battle):
"Paine's colored troops suffered largely and some 200 of them lay with their backs to the earth and the feet to the fore, with their sable faces made by death a ghastly blue, with their expression of determination, which never dies out of brave men's faces who die instantly in a charge...."
General Butler goes on to say that anyone who tries to claim that African American troops aren't fit to fight is a coward.
You see for a long time everyone including the north thought African American soldiers were not capable of the type of courage it takes to meet death with honor. Well, in the face of well fortified confederate veterans some from the acclaimed "Hood's" Texas Brigade these men fought an uphill battle through walls of lead, fear and a 400 year old mindset that they were inferior and won the day.
This got me thinking about the notion that a persons sacred honor is what the men who wrote the declaration meant when they said "with a firm reliance on Divine Providence" in other words each one of us is endowed with sacred honor and by any account that translates to the reality that there is a bit of divinity inside us all.
That said, why doesn't it show up very often? I think we forget about our sacred honor because it is covered up by crap.
For years after I got home I covered mine up with things like booze, crappy food, anxiety, anger and fear. It has only been recently that I have let a lot of that go and things have started to shine forth.
See combat cuts through all the bull for you. That's part of the reason I think we are losing a veteran or SMBR every 80 min or so because after they come home they no longer feel connected to their sacred honor.
I sure as hell didn't feel connected to mine when I was sobbing uncontrollably in the corner wondering why I wasn't man enough to handle a bathroom renovation.
The African American soldiers at New Market Geights, displayed their sacred honor. This was made clear even to a Confederate soldier who wrote after the battle, "Upon the 29th of September Richmond came nearer being captured, and that, too, by negro troops, than it ever did during the whole war."
Now this didn't right the wrong our nation committed towards an entire race of people, just like recognizing your innate divinity won't fix your life.
After combat you don't have a war to keep the bull at bay.
You have to cut away the crap and declare your independence from what is holding you back.
To begin, remember your Sacred Honor.
This post was guided by the 27th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba , the founder and creator of the Martial Art, Aikido.