Part of the ceremony was the officers taking the Military Oath of Office. The Military Oath of Office is, “I, (state full name), having been appointed a 2nd Lieutenant or Ensign, in the United States (Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take the obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
The ceremony program noted that this Oath of Office was essentially the same as that taken by American officers since George Washington. Now over 240 years later this oath is still being administered in the United States.
I couldn’t help but think of the similarities to the oaths taken by Freemasons, whether during a degree or upon being installed as an officer of the lodge. These oaths emphasize that you will fulfill your obligation or duty freely. They state the seriousness of the work you about to undertake and that you are committed to doing that work to the best of your ability.
Oaths in and of themselves are just words and are meaningless without actions behind them. They do not guarantee success and do not discourage failure. What an oath does is set forth an obligation and set of duties for you to strive for. They can serve as a reminder as they why you are doing what you do. They are a common bond that tie those together that have taken the same oath.
Are you upholding your oath?
WB Gregory J. Knott is the Worshipful Master of Ogden Lodge No. 754 in Ogden (IL) and a plural member of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 (IL), Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL) and Naval Lodge No. 4 in Washington, DC.