Fulfill Your Duty! // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Until recently, “duty” has been a forgotten concept in America.

Remember the day when a man was as good as his word? When a promise was made, the promise was kept.

Unfortunately, in recent years, there has been a tremendous decline in this commitment. Instead of doing what’s right, people often live at the level of “convenience”. “I’ll keep my word to you as long as something better doesn’t come along.”

Perhaps it would be good for us to revisit the idea of duty.

On April 5, 1852, General Robert E. Lee wrote the following letter to his son, G.W. Custus Lee, about duty:

In regard to duty, let me inform you than nearly a hundred years ago there was a day of remarkable gloom and darkness still known as “the Dark Day” when the light of the sun was extinguished by an eclipse. The legislature of Connecticut was in session, and its members seeing the unexpected and unaccountable darkness coming on, shared the awe and terror. Some thought it was the Last Day, The Day of Judgment. Someone, in consternation, moved an adjournment. Then, rose an old Puritan legislator, Devanport of Stanford, and said that if the Last Day had come, he desired to be found at this place, doing his duty, and therefore, moved that candles be brought in so that the House could proceed with its duty. There was quietness in that man’s mind, the quietness of heavenly wisdom, an inflexible willingness to obey present duty. Duty, then, is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things like the old Puritan. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less. Never let me, and your mother, wear one gray hair for any lack of duty on your part.

These words, though penned a century and a half ago, are needed today more than ever.

We must fulfill the call to duty which has been placed before us.

We dare not shirk our responsibility. If it is true, If it is right, If it is possible — It must be done!

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