Growing up on the banks of the Hudson River at West Point Military Academy, I was immersed in the army culture of the historic campus where “Duty, Honor, Country” was the enduring motto of the “Corps of Cadets.” My father, Colonel Amos A. Jordan, was a “permanent professor” at West Point, meaning we spent many uninterrupted years there as he led the Department of Social Sciences.
In the tumultuous years of the 1960s, as the Vietnam War continued to rage, we saw many cadet graduates lead troops in combat far from home. With tears and sadness, we received the news of the heroic sacrifices and deaths of these young men who served their country. Our home had been a haven for the LDS cadets, who regularly joined us for Sunday dinners and holiday celebrations, and we knew many of them well.
My parents spent twenty years at West Point, my father retiring as a Brigadier General. He is now 90 years old and most of his classmates of “the greatest generation,” having served in World War II and the Korean War, are now gone. When I think of my father and mother’s dedication to “Duty, Honor, Country” and the military men, women and families across the world, I am filled with gratitude.
What an astonishing thing it is to embody the scripture found in John 15:13: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” I remember the faces of the young cadets at the dinner table; the lives lived and lost for our great nation. I am humbled by their love of country and dedication to their fellow citizens.
May we truly respect and appreciate every man and woman who wears the uniform of the United States of America and every family who endures the separations that deployment brings. As nurses, may we give an extra measure of devoted care to those who have given us the greatest gift of all, freedom.
Linda Mabey, BYU College of Nursing Faculty
The weekends are often quiet, but with President’s Day, last past weekend was even more quiet than normal. At the end of my Saturday shift, with less than 15 minutes until I would close the gallery, a group of visiting Chinese professors walked up the spiral staircase. They were guided by someone I recognized and I thought all was well. However, the man I knew quickly introduced them to me and then rushed off. I felt honored he had entrusted me with a group of foreign visitors, but also inadequate with my Chinese. I felt daunted by the task at hand, but keeping a prayer in my heart, I started the tour.
I talked about my interpretation of the symbols in the gallery and the aims of a BYU education—learning both the secular and the spiritual, building character, and fostering a desire of lifelong learning. I then continued talking about the history of the Church and its effort to educate the youth since its beginning.
These good people sat patiently, listening to my full discourse, now entirely in English with a few Chinese words interjected. I was anxious and nervous, worrying so much about their ability to understanding me that I forgot to allow moments of reflection. My audience seemed to find a real connection when I told them of the stories of BYU’s forefathers who had made many sacrifices and worked to perpetuate the future of the school. These Chinese professors shared their desires in educating and building the characters of their students.
Although our understandings of God are different, the truth is universal. Those who come to campus, and especially to the gallery, can feel a spirit of adherence to truth on this campus. I’m grateful for the chance to learn and I hope these professors have also gained something valuable from this experience.
Lucy Lu, gallery educator