“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint.” General Douglas MacArthur
I’ve just been informed of this advice for if you’re over 35 “—Better go pee before you leave, pee when you get there, pee while you’re there, and pee before you leave…” An answering comment was “Wait till you’re over fifty.” My comment is, wait till you’re over sixty.
Life is ever-changing sometimes for the better and sometimes just changing. One thing that is certain is change.
In 1962 General MacArthur was honored by West Point with the Sylvanus Thayer Award. After accepting the award, he gave a speech to the graduating cadets of the beloved school from which he too had graduated. The most famous part of the speech was this:
“The shadows are lengthening for me. The twilight is here. My days of old have vanished, tone and tint. They have gone glimmering through the dreams of things that were. Their memory is one of wondrous beauty, watered by tears, and coaxed and caressed by the smiles of yesterday. I listen vainly, but with thirsty ears, for the witching melody of faint bugles blowing reveille, of far drums beating the long roll. In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield. But in the evening of my memory, always I come back to West Point. Always there echoes and reechoes: Duty, Honor, Country. Today marks my final roll call with you, but I want you to know that when I cross the river my last conscious thoughts will be of The Corps, The Corps, and The Corps. I bid you farewell.”
I don’t know if MacArthur wrote his own speech or if someone else wrote it. I don’t even have a copy of the whole speech, only this excerpt. What I would say to this excerpt is that it is very poetic, very beautifully, and wonderfully written as it pulls at the heartstrings.
These images conjure up the battles General MacArthur was involved in during times past. They call forth from the shadows of yesterday the dreams that were, the memory of wondrous beauty and mournful mutter of the battlefield.
Many of these images I can identify with in our spiritual battles. Although not always on a physical battlefield, nonetheless, the battlefield is real.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”
The secular world is attempting to downplay the role of good and evil in our world. Things that at one time were boldly declared to be sinful and wrong, are now, if not with approval talked about quietly and allowed as personal freedom. No one dares council someone for fear of “hurting their feelings.”
No, I don’t believe in casting the beam out of a brother (or fellow earth traveler’s) eye so I can throw the beam out from my own. I do believe in honesty though.
Honesty is so annoying. It’s right up there beside hypocrisy. Going along to get along is comfortable. Honesty means speaking up and moving out of our comfort zone.
Hypocrisy says I know we both have glitches, but if you pretend I don’t have any, I’ll pretend you don’t have any, and we’ll all be contented in our sins.
Secularism is “Without God”. Secularists want all of us to view the world as they do. Without God there is no right or wrong, no good versus evil, and if anyone can do anything without consequences then you’re fine and I’m fine, and let’s just be cool.
Everyone can do their own thing, but that doesn’t work well without self-discipline. —And some things are wrong, just plain wrong.
As of now, the shadows are lengthening for me. And the twilight is here—for me. The thoughts I would close with are not “The Corps, The Corps, and The Corps.”
My admonition would be, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Ephesians 6:10) … And having done all, to stand, stand therefore… (6:13&14)”