The word legacy is defined as money or property given to another or something handed down from an ancestor or a predecessor or from the past. There are many different concepts of legacy, some positive and others negative. In the black community today, there is a sad legacy of the welfare nanny-state and dependency that is being handed down to subsequent generations. We as Americans, especially my generation, must be concerned about what legacy we shall leave for our children and grandchildren.
We see legacies in the sports world where a great athlete such as David Robinson gets to watch his son as a tight end for the University of Notre Dame. Or how about Ken Griffey Sr. watching Ken Griffey Jr. take the field?
There are legacies in the entertainment industry — acting or singing. Sometimes that can be a good thing and other times bad depending on the preceding reputation and the ability to live up to that standard. There are legacies in the world of politics — maybe we should refer to them as dynasties. Here in America we don’t really like the sense of political entitlement resulting from political legacies.
And in the business world there are countless examples of legacies and many out there who deride them — see Death Tax. I personally like the legacy of the family farmer — and who could ever forget that incredible monologue by Paul Harvey, “And God made a farmer.”
Families are established on and defined by their legacies, and that has always been an integral part of the American tradition.
Today another great chapter in the West family legacy takes place. It is a legacy that has been repeated time and time again in the history of our Republic. It involves the legacy of service to our nation in uniform.
I was so honored last year to return to Ft. Leavenworth, a picturesque Army post on the banks of the Missouri River, for the promotion of my nephew from captain to major in the U.S. Army. My promotion to major was conducted at Camp Casey Korea while I was serving in the U.S. Army Second Infantry Division. My family wasn’t there, but my Army family was.
At the promotion for Major Herman Bernard West II I surprised him, and me also, and donned my Army Dress Blue uniform. It was a very emotional moment for me to stand next to the young fella I once bounced on my knee — both of us dressed in Army Dress Blues. I remember Bernie attending my assumption of command ceremony of the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment (MLRS), 4th Infantry Division on June 6th 2002, the anniversary of D-Day. It was that day that young cadet Bernard West of North Georgia Military College told me he wanted to be an artilleryman like his uncle — and so he is.
I will always remember the day when Bernie took command of an Artillery Firing Battery. It was in the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment (MLRS), 18th Field Artillery Brigade, Ft Bragg. I had been the Operations Officer of the 18th FA Brigade and where we fielded and tested the HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) that he commanded. The entire West family was there for that legacy moment.
And so, here I am in Ft. Leavenworth today to attend the Army Command and General Staff Officer College graduation for Major West. Just like Major Allen B. West in 1997.
There are many great legacies in America, but none greater than that of the legacy of service, sacrifice, and commitment to the United States of America in uniform. From a simple U.S. Army corporal who served in World War II, Herman West Sr. There is now a second Army Staff College graduate.
Steadfast and Loyal.