'All the riches will not buy a man. But promise him a ribbon and he will offer his life.'
- An Unknown General.
General Dwight Eisenhower was a career soldier who was responsible for the planning and execution of the D Day landings and subsequent invasions of France and Germany. He led the armed forces that liberated Nazi occupied territory in World War II and rescued Western Civilisation. He was NATO Supreme Commander and after retiring from the Army he served two terms as President of the United States.
President Eisenhower made his farewell speech at the height of the Cold War as Soviet and US nuclear missiles sat in their silos waiting to destroy the earth. His decades in uniform immersed in Army tribalism and identity did not blind him to warning of the threat to civil liberties of 'the military-industrial complex'. He used the word 'I' eighteen times.
President Eisenhower concluded with:
'We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth, and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.'
General Eisenhower was awarded ten US and decorations and chose to wear only a handful of them. He is buried in uniform, with his wife of 53 years, wearing only three.
General David Petraeus commanded all coalition forces in Iraq. He retired from the Army as the United States was struggling to contain guerrillas in Afghanistan.
His final speech was twice as long as General Eisenhower's. He affirmed the 'need to maintain the full-spectrum [military] capability that we have developed'. General Petraeus shouted 'Hoo-ah!' three times and said 'I' 79 times. He concluded with:
'May God bless each of you, our great country, and most importantly our men and women in uniform and their families.'
Fifteen months after his retirement speech, General Petraeus resigned as Director of the CIA after an alleged extra-marital affair with his biographer. He subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of mishandling classified information that he had given to her.
General Petraeus wore over 30 ribbons and badges.