Music & the Spoken Word: Timely and timeless values

The West Point values of duty, honor and country belong to all who selflessly enlist in a cause greater than themselves, Lloyd Newell shares

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Nov. 13, 2022.

On the western bank of the Hudson River, 40 miles north of New York City, stands the United States Military Academy at West Point. For over 200 years, this well-known institution has emphasized the values behind a simple and inspiring motto: “Duty, Honor, Country.” 

Implicit in this motto is the belief that serving others is not a matter of preference or convenience but of solemn duty; that such service must be given honorably, with integrity, or not at all; and that the needs of our fellow citizens, those with whom we share our country, are as important as our own.

Ken Alford is a retired U.S. Army colonel and was a faculty member at West Point for many years.

Kenneth L. Alford, a BYU professor of Church history and doctrine, speaks during the Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, Ensign College devotional in the Assembly Hall on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.
Ensign College

“For me, West Point is a wonderful mix of the past, the present, and the promise of the future. As you walk the hallways of West Point you can just almost feel the great captains of the past. Also there are cadets today, young men and women that are being trained to become people of character. What West Point teaches is that there are things that are more important than self,” Alford said.

To some, these might seem like old-fashioned values. But the truth is they are timeless — and timely. Today, more than ever, we need people who consider it their duty to uphold freedom, who place a high priority on honor, and who do their part to make their country and the world a better place.

“Throughout my life, having the opportunity to serve in the military, I’ve seen both here — stateside and abroad — opportunities where people have upheld those values and the blessing that has been in their lives and also the lives of those around them. But I would suggest that people everywhere, whether they’re connected with the military or not can seek to make their country a better place,” Alford said.

It’s not enough to assume that someone else will embrace these values for us. The duty of service is our shared duty. Whatever our work may be, we can do it with honor. And love for our country can inspire us to improve our country. You don’t have to attend West Point to live by duty, honor and country. These values belong to all of us who selflessly enlist in a cause greater than ourselves.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM,, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the, and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at

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