To the Editor

As an Alumni (Class of ’79), I am mortified, ashamed, and embarrassed that this organization presented Brian Williams with the Frank Outwater Lifetime Achievement Award. To quote the MC, “This recipient embodies our core values”. As graduate of Mater Dei, let me make it perfectly clear, Brian Williams does not embody the core values that I was taught by my parents, reinforced by Mater Dei, and forged as a United States Marine. The MC goes on to list the core values as “faith, family, community service, inclusiveness and integrity”. I guess 4 out of 5 isn’t bad.

Integrity means that you are honest and truthful in what you say or do. You put honesty, sense of duty, and sound moral principles above all else. I am fully cognizant of the fact that memories are flawed, and that a lie requires conscious intent to deceive, or that over time people can confuse an event they experienced with subsequent similar experiences, that their memory may conflate the original experience with stories that they’ve heard, videos they’ve seen, or articles they’ve read. The fog of memory may excuse the question of a lie, but the award is for faith, family, community service, inclusiveness and ***integrity***

Honesty, by definition, is to tell the truth and being true. Integrity is having strong moral principles based on honesty and to follow those principles religiously. Brian Williams, in telling the story of being on an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire in Afghanistan, simply was not being honest because it wasn’t true, and therefore lacks the integrity required for this honor.


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Jim Smith
Holly Springs, MS

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