The Honor Principle: When I Told a 'White Lie' I Broke the Trust That Is Fundamental to Service in the Armed Forces

By Houk, Andrea L. | Newsweek, January 12, 1998 | Go to article overview

The Honor Principle: When I Told a 'White Lie' I Broke the Trust That Is Fundamental to Service in the Armed Forces


Houk, Andrea L., Newsweek


When I told a 'white lie' I broke the trust that is fundamental to service in the armed forces

WELCOME TO RIO BRAVO GRILL! CAN I GET Y'ALL a margarita?" With those words I began my stint as a full-time waitress, apartment renter and bill payer in downtown Atlanta. It was the first time I had ever truly been on my own, with no help from my parents except for the occasional sardonic words of advice or chastisement. At that time I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had recently been forced to leave the United States Air Force Academy, and I didn't know what to do next. My life had always been planned around a career in the air force, and I had never pictured myself as anything else. My leaving and subsequent return to the academy, as well as my experiences during the time I was out, taught me a lot about myself, the world around me and where I want to go from here.

I have had what might be called a charmed life. I have a family who loves me and has always supported and encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. For the most part, I have accomplished what I set out to do, graduating with highest honors from an award-winning private high school, receiving an appointment to the Air Force Academy and now, I hope, becoming an air force officer. However, in May of 1996, my junior year at the academy, I made quite possibly the most egregious mistake of my life, and my charmed world began to crumble. I violated the Cadet Honor Code.

"We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and live honorably. So help me God."

The Air Force Academy's honor code is very strict. It is all-encompassing, covering not only academic integrity but honesty in all aspects of life. While many institutions of higher learning have academic honor codes, none is as broad and rigorously enforced as the service academies; it is something cadets and graduates take great pride in. I violated the code with what might be called a "little white lie." I said that I'd made a doctor's appointment when I had not. When I lied I broke the trust that binds everyone at the academy together. To me, that little white lie is the symbol of a temptation that everyone faces: to compromise his or her integrity for personal gain. One of the most important lessons I learned when I was living in the civilian world was that holding oneself to such a high standard is not the norm, and temptations come strong and often. Working in a restaurant for six months, every day I saw people lying for something as simple as getting out of work or trying to avoid punishment. Once, $2,000 was stolen from the restaurant safe. It wasn't easy to maintain my integrity in that environment, but by doing so I became much stronger and more independent.

My friends who are not in the military ask me why members of the armed forces see themselves as better than the rest of society. I think that is a misperception that stems from the essential sense of integrity that servicemen and -women must have in order to do their jobs and do them well. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Honor Principle: When I Told a 'White Lie' I Broke the Trust That Is Fundamental to Service in the Armed Forces
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.