Vet says we should all adopt ‘duty, honor, country’ values
Vaughn Timberlake of Corydon, chairman of the board of Community First Bank and a young U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the war in Vietnam, says our nation is stronger than ever before, but it’s still time to bring back the concepts that people in uniform know well, the concepts of duty, honor and country.
Timberlake, 60, spoke Saturday in near-perfect autumn weather at the Veterans Day ceremony at the Hurley D. Conrad Memorial Bandstand on the square in Corydon, before a comparatively large crowd estimated at about 100 people. Former Corydon VFW Post 2950 Commander Terry Thomas said he thought the crowd was the biggest for a veterans program that he’s seen here in the last 21 years. The crowd was no doubt swelled by the war in which Americans are now fighting in Afghanistan and the terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Timberlake, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, said, “Those in uniform live by a code. Duty, Honor Country. Those words may mean very little to those rogue regime leaders, their followers and the terrorists and thugs they either support or harbor. But before this is all over, they will!”
His words had prophetic value a few days later as the extremist Taliban government in Afghanistan, which has given blatant aid and comfort to terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden, began to unravel following heavy American bombardment and a military offensive by anti-Taliban forces.
“To those of us who have served, and to those currently serving, those words are our motivation, not just a motto,” Timberlake said.
“You see, duty doesn’t mean just military duty. It means duty to one’s family, to the principles of freedom and peace, to one’s community and to God.”
He said duty refers to the responsibilities one has as a parent, a citizen, a religious person, a soldier, sailor, airman or marine.
Timberlake said he wishes all Americans would adopt the concepts of duty, honor and country as their individual code of conduct, just as servicemen and women have done for decades.
Timberlake had some direct criticism for the “distractions” and “distracters” in television news. He said reporters who spend all their efforts trying to one-up the competition in their race to get the story and win the ratings battle, play loose with the facts, disrupt daily lives and “scare the hell out of the American people.”
He was referring to the constant barrage of reports about anthrax.
Timberlake said anthrax is the most treatable and non-contagious of all bio and chemical threats to our nation’s peace and existence.
“We need to turn our total attention to the work being done by personnel in uniform and praise and honor them as they go about the intricate work of destroying the enemies of our country who either caused or allowed the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon to happen.
“A lot of this other stuff only plays into the hands of our enemies,” Timberlake said.
Timberlake said the terrorist attacks of September have united us as never before.
He said the roots of America’s freedom, its free enterprise system and its form of government “are stronger than any terrorist attack, regardless of form, our enemies can mount against us.
“Our country will survive and prosper. In no small way, directly and indirectly, because of the men and women who wear the uniform. Our country will, as we always have, punish severely those who dare to tread upon us.”
Timberlake was on active duty for seven years during his 22-year career with the U.S. Army. In 1966 and ’67, he was stationed at a base camp in South Vietnam and flying a scout helicopter pilot in War Zone C.
He said his helicopter was forced down but never shot down.
Jill Robertson opened the Veterans Day program with a beautiful rendition of “The National Anthem,” and she led the group in singing “American the Beautiful” at the conclusion of the program.