GMC News


Definition of the word of the week (DUTY): The compulsion felt to meet a moral obligation

Examples of men and women of character doing their duty surround us and we need not look far to see them. Two examples immediately leap to my mind. First, Carl Vinson did his duty to our great nation. When questioned about his distinguished success in Congress, he said, “I cannot give you the secret of longevity, for I do not know what produces it, except perhaps to suggest that maintaining a vigorous pace in all my mental and physical activities has played a very important part. However, if I had to select one factor that may have played a dominant role in reaching my years, I would name the challenge of Public Service.” He was a great servant of the people and an outspoken advocate of a strong national defense. Representative Vinson served 59 consecutive years in public office and he exemplified the virtue of duty from our past. However, we have another example here in Baldwin County who shows great promise by recognizing the importance of duty and he represents our future.

Cadet Clifford Burns has been a college cadet for a little over a month and as part of his plebe indoctrination training, he was required to write an extemporaneous essay on GMC’s core values and their importance in his life. He wrote, “…I was drawn to this profession by magnetic attraction. The magnetic attraction was the true north of the moral tenets exemplified in our Armed Forces. Even before I could express them, the values of Duty, Honor and Country have shaped my life. Both of my parents … dedicated their lives to the service of this great nation. But, they didn’t do it because they had to, they did it because they felt driven by that same magnetic force inside of me. Perhaps I inherited this attraction to the selfless lifestyle, or perhaps it was ingrained in me by all of the bright shining examples in my life. For whatever reason, I now find my feet set upon a path paved with our core values. To stray would be to enter a darker world of lesser moral character and greater corruption. To me, Duty, Honor, Country are not just three words, but my compass.”

A compass needle always points to magnetic north. If we ensure that our moral compass always points to Duty and the other core values, we need never worry about losing our way. Core values keep our feet on the path of light and help dispel the forces of darkness. So, instead of stumbling blindly through life, let Duty show you “the way.”

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the word of the week:

To me Americanism means an imperative duty to be nobler than the rest of the world. Meyer London, Congressman

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life. Theodore Roosevelt, President

The duty of helping oneself in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors. Samuel Smiles, Author

The sense of obligation to continue is present in all of us. A duty to strive is the duty of us all. I felt a call to that duty. Abraham Lincoln, President

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought. Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it. Abraham Lincoln

Doing good to others is not a duty, it is a joy, for it increases our own health and happiness. Zoroaster, Religious leader

What is possible is our highest duty. William Mclaren, Author

The line of life is a ragged diagonal between duty and desire. William Alger, Writer

There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister

Vision looks inwards and becomes duty. Vision looks outwards and becomes aspiration. Vision looks upwards and becomes faith. Stephen Wise, Zionest leader

No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. St. Ambrose

COL Patrick Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone at 478-445-2710 or by email at