Duty, honor, country

The motto of West Point, our country’s military academy, is duty, honor, country. Those words signify the type of commitment we get from all branches of our military. The individuals who serve our country and risk their lives for our freedom and safety do so with strong dedication.

Recently, while watching two long running news shows, I heard those words, duty, honor, country used by two individuals being interviewed on the same day on two different networks. They are powerful words and clearly signify the importance of the issues the two individuals were discussing and the emphasis they wanted to place on what they were saying.

The first person I heard use them was the CEO of Starbucks. He was being asked about the struggles of rural America, the loss of jobs and businesses they have faced and what he believed was needed to turn our country around, get it back on track and help rural America get back on its feet. He was also asked about the large number of returning veterans and the need to find them jobs. The interviewer wanted to know what Mr. Schultz, as a successful businessman, felt needed to be done to move our country forward.

Mr. Schultz talked about the need to for us to create manufacturing jobs that would enable skilled workers to again earn a good living. He stressed the importance of these jobs being in every part of our country enabling both large and small towns to again prosper. He cited the need for the return to a dedication of what we do and likened it to the military cadets and their dedication to duty, honor, country.He emphasized the need to invest in hiring our veterans and for American companies to place orders with other American companies for the products they need.

Later in the day I heard the words used again by a former successful CEO who was a West Point graduate and now has been picked to oversee the much needed reforms at the second largest federal government agency, the Veteran’s Administration. Bob McDonald who ran Procter & Gamble was being interviewed about how he intended to address the problems at the massive agency.

Secretary McDonald spoke of his long list of findings and his intention to announce steps that would lead to an overhaul of the VA and a recommitment to do all they can for our veterans including providing the best health care along with assistance in housing, education and finding a good job.

When asked about the importance of getting such a large agency back on track to do the job it was created to do, he said it was his top priority to make sure that those who served this country get the care and help they need when they need it. He was appalled by the fact that so many had to wait months or travel hundreds of miles to get the care they were entitled.

It was clear from his comments that as a West Point graduate, but more importantly as a citizen of this country, he was well aware of the countless sacrifices of our veterans. He understood it was our government’s duty and responsibility to forever honor the needs of our service men and women who gave so much so our country could remain free and safe.

For a number of years I have been urging credit unions to do their part in moving our country forward by lending to small businesses and hiring a veteran whenever possible. The comments of Mr. Schultz and Secretary McDonald confirm that we all must do more to achieve those goals.

Duty, honor, country—three very pointed and powerful words that all of us should remember and make a part of daily commitment in our professional and private lives.

Michael Fryzel

Michael Fryzel

Michael Fryzel is the former Chairman of the National Credit Union Administration and is now a financial services consultant and government affairs attorney in Chicago. He can be reached at ... Details