Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Couple of Quotes

These quotes have never left me. I am not sure who to attribute them to besides Norwich.

Self discipline, the best kind of discipline is self discipline.
Self discipline amounts to the person having control of himself and his actions and doing what is right because he wants to.
A leader must be able to depend upon his men to do their duty correctly and voluntarily whether or not anyone is checking up on them.

I think this one is Shakespeare.
To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day thou canst not then be false to any other man.

This one is the cadet creed I think.
I believe the cardinal virtues of the individual are, courage, honesty, temperance and wisdom, and that the true measure of success is service rendered to God, to Country and to Mankind.

It is strange the things that remain with me. I probably couldn't tell you the names of all my roommates, but these bits and pieces of freshman year are stuck in my head. Freshman year was 1988 and here I am almost twenty years later still believing and repeating these nifty little sayings.

That first one about self discipline was special, I was taught that as a punishment for bad behavior. At Norwich freshman are affectionately referred to as Rooks. Being a Rook is not easy. One of the inconveniences involved with Rookdom is squaring your corners. Every where you go you are expected to be in the gutter and make ninety degree turns.

I lived directly across the hall from the bathroom. To get to the bathroom I would step out into the hall, announce my presence, just in case any upperclassman had a little free time on their hands or needed a study break and then make my way all the way down the hall and around to the bathroom four feet away. This was a very dangerous journey, my roommates and I at the time had a bit of a reputation as wise asses, go figure.

On this particular afternoon, I step outside my door, "hit the wall" and announce my presence at the top of my lungs "Insane India!" followed by the
loudest, longest fart I ever produced. Much to my chagrin, the Regimental XO was studying in his room down the hall with his door open.

Ltc Buldoc, what a dick, he was like twenty-seven years old, was famous for not making it through Ranger school and was called, behind his back, "The Airborne Dentist". I am not sure why it took him so long to get through college, he seemed smart, and he certainly kept his boots very shiny. Anyway Ltc Buldoc took a shine to me that day, he called me down to his room, shut the door, had me place my arms out in front of me at ninety degrees and placed this huge piece of granite with those words engraved in it in my hands.

I was not allowed to put it down until I could recite it with my eyes closed. The memorization took longer than I could hold the rock up so he put me in the front leaning rest and placed the stone on the ground in front of me. My arms were spent by this point so he grabbed a Rook buddy, and had them hold the rock for me. It seemed like a lifetime, in reality I bet it was under an hour, before I got it.

For the rest of the semester whenever he saw me or walked by my room he would call out"Wonson, What is it?" and I would reply "Sir, Self discipline, the best kind of discipline is Self discipline. Self discipline amounts to the cadet having control of himself and his actions and doing what is right because he wants to. A leader must be able to depend upon his men to do their duty correctly and voluntarily whether or not anyone is checking up on them. Sir."

Needless to say, Norwich touched me, and I am better for it.

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