I think General George C. Marshall was one of the greatest people of the twentieth century. Early on, he took a risk that could have eliminated his making any impact on the world.
Marshall was a young officer, drilling men in Europe shortly after the U. S. entered World War I. The men were poorly trained and ill equipped. General John J. Pershing, head of the U. S. Expeditionary Force, stopped by the camp where Marshall was located for an inspection.
Pershing was not pleased and gave Marshall’s commanding officer a tongue-lashing. This was unfortunate considering the fault lay with Pershing. Moreover, there was no hope things would get better.
This lack of integrity, coupled with Army’s upper brass refusing to address the real problems, was too much for Marshall. He pointedly told Pershing the truth.
Marshall’s fellow soldiers thought he had ruined his career. They had become so accustomed to ignoring the truth; they believed Marshall had made a mistake from which he could not recover.
Instead, Pershing was favorably impressed. Weeks later, he plucked Marshall from the ranks to become a chief aid. Later, Marshall became Pershing’s Chief of Staff. Pershing had been looking for a man who would be truthful and speak up. No had done so—until Marshall. Marshall rose through the ranks of the U. S. Army for many reasons, chief of which was he was known for frankly telling the unvarnished truth.
The U. S. Army needed people willing to do so. GOD needs people willing to do so.
Wherever you attend school, wherever you work, please tell the truth. Don’t resort to telling people what they want to hear. Be nice about it, be kind about, but tell the truth. To paraphrase Jesus, every time we say “yes” or “no”, people should never beseech us to take an oath. Our word should be enough.