Lieutenant General Russell Honoré spoke Thursday Feb. 9 at the Weasler auditorium to students and staff about Leadership. His overall message was that our nation has lost its drive for invention. He implored his audience to try and be the “next big thing.”
Honoré is best known for his work done following the Katrina disaster. Aug. 31, 2005 he was appointed the commander of Joint Task Force Katrina. He further gained national attention with is attitude towards reporters that asked stupid questions. He once told a reporter that asked a stupid question to not get “stuck on stupid.”
His other big point to his audience in addition to being inventive was being prepared. He used many examples from his work in the Katrina effort to explain what he meant by being prepared. One line he repeatedly said was “For every dollar you save on being prepared, you save 12 dollars in response.” He was trying to convey to his audience that being prepared will be much more beneficial to you instead of just dealing with a problem as it happens.
He also said “If we lose power, we will be living as we did 80 years ago.” Honoré was referring to the Katrina incident when so many lost power and had to live a primitive lifestyle for so long.
He told us all this because Honoré made it very clear that he loves his country and it kills him to see it losing its power over the rest of the world. He said that it is our job to keep America free for the next generation.
He reflected on the American Revolution and told his audience “Next time you face something difficult in your life, consider your founding fathers!” He spoke extensively of the founders and the soldiers in the Revolution. This example was used when he spoke about being proactive; if you see a problem with something, fix it. “The founders saw a problem with the way they were being ruled so they took action.”
One very powerful yet comical message he conveyed to the audience was that he has no tolerance for terrorism. “If you see something bad about to happen, DO SOMETHING! If someone is trying to set their shoe on fire, I’m gonna’ to beat them!”
He made the connection that one of his generation’s big challenges was the Vietnam War and stopping the spread of communism. But the issues our generation is faced with solving is over population, world hunger and water – which is what he believes the next major war will be over.
One could almost hear the sadness in his voice when he was speaking of rising nations such as China and India. He wants the United States to be the most powerful nation forever and he sees that this next generation of Americans has lost the drive that older generations once had. Unlike the “Greatest Generation” Honoré said, there is no burden to go to war after school, but an obligation to be inventive.