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\”Love\” – Word of the Week

Definition of the word of the week (LOVE): An intense emotional attachment

This week, we celebrate Presidents’ Day in honor of the four American Presidents who were born in the month of February. We all know that George Washington, William Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan were each famous in his own right—Washington was our first president and one of our Founding Fathers, Harrison served only 31 days in office, Lincoln led us through the crucible of the Civil War and Reagan was the greatest president of the 20th Century. Each man loved his country more than self.

Of course, it is easy to say that one love’s one’s country. However, it is more important to show it. One of my favorite memories as a boy was when I first visited a military installation. It was at the end of the day and everyone was anxious to get home to their families when suddenly cars started stopping in the middle of the roadway. I’m not talking about one or two cars, I mean they all stopped in the middle of the road as if some giant spaceship had passed by and killed all of the engines at once. Then, not just the driver, but every occupant of the vehicle got out of the car and saluted. It was then that I heard the faint music in the distance and later learned that “retreat” was being played. The military installation’s flag was being lowered for the evening.

Can you imagine that happening in Baldwin County? I cannot. Georgia Military College adheres to this aspect of love of country better than most. But, even here, I usually post three or four cadets at various points to remind pedestrians to stop and show respect for the flag at reveille and retreat. I prefer to think that their failure to show proper respect is a consequence of ignorance and/or laziness and not an uncaring attitude about America.

When I was first stationed in Germany, I was surprised that the American officers stood up and saluted when the German flag passed by or the German national anthem was played. Of course, the German officers reciprocated the demonstration of respect. Although most of us Americans felt no strong emotion either for or against Germany, it was important to show proper respect. Now, living in America, I am appalled by the lack of affection that many Americans show for our flag. If the behavior that indicates a lack of affection is based on ignorance, then let’s do a better job of educating our children. If it is based on a genuine lack of affection, then remember the freedoms that you enjoy as an American and think of our brave soldiers serving on the frontiers of freedom. Then, if you still have no affection for America, find somewhere else to live.

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

God grant that not only the love of liberty but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all the nations of the earth, so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say, “This is my country!” Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. Martin L. King, Jr. Minister

Two purposes in human nature rule. Self-love to urge and reason to restrain. Alexander Pope, Poet

Everywhere, we learn only from those whom we love. Von Goethe, Poet

There is nothing wrong with American that faith, love of freedom, intelligence, and energy of her citizens cannot cure. Dwight Eisenhower, President

One cannot be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work. Georgia O’Keefe, Painter

Only divine love bestows the keys of knowledge. Arthur Rimbaud, Poet

When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece. John Ruskin, Critic

Nirvana or lasting enlightenment or true spiritual growth can be achieved only through persistent exercise of real love. M. Scott Peck, Author

Those who intend on becoming great should love neither themselves or their own things, but only what is just, whether it happens to be done by themselves or others. Plato, Philosopher

Knowledge is gained by learning; trust by doubt; skill by practice; love by love. Thomas Szasz, Psychiatrist

It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get. Morarji Desai, Prime Minister

Even the rich are hungry for love, for being cared for, for being wanted, for having someone to call their own. Mother Teresa, Misionary

If a man loves the labor of his trade apart from any question of success or fame, the gods have called him. Robert Louis Stevenson, Poet

Love is a better teacher than duty. Albert Einstein, Physicist

LTC 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, 478-445-2710 or by email, pbeer@gmc.cc.ga.us