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General Douglas MacArthur's Farewell Address

As a senior in high school, I participated on the speech and debate team. I know, what were they thinking? At the time, it seemed a good way to escape Senior English, Shakespear being someone I felt no need to become acquainted with. So, I took the offer. I debated, did impromptu, and most enjoyed Oratorical Interpretation. In this, the speaker interprets a speech given by another, usually a famous person of some sort; a scientist, president, or such. As I read through hundreds of speeches to select the one I would craft as my presentation at tournaments, I more or less stumbled across this one.

Mind you, the year was 1965. Something was going on across the big pond that people cared a lot about. Peter Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and The Mommas and Pappas were big. The nation was beginning to become angry with itself, a disease we suffer again today. In that time, public opinion was becoming decidedly anti-military, to the point that service people wore their uniforms in public at their own risk.

In that time and that place, I chose General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Address to the Corps of Cadets for my presentation. Well, no one ever said I was politically correct. On this holiday the speech rings especially true. I’ve thought of it often, but this is the first time I’ve ever actually revisited it. I am glad I did.

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