I attended Congressman Walter Jones’ funeral service [Thursday] at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. It was sad, but a beautiful service and a chance to remember what an honest, humble, loyal, and decent man he was, in all aspects of his life. The theme of the many eulogies given this afternoon was that Walter B. Jones was a man of religious conviction and a man of great integrity. His assistants in DC told how he prayed each day for wisdom and for the courage to do the right thing, and in his last days, he was comforted by the thought that he had always voted his conscience and what he believed were the right decisions for the people of eastern North Carolina. In his last conversations with dear friends, he talked about his mortality and how he hoped, above all else, that he would be remembered as a man of integrity.
The word “Integrity” stems from Latin word “integritas” which means “soundness, wholeness, completeness.” The word soon entered the Greek language and the language of ancient Rome.
“Integrity,” as we know it today, is synonymous with the terms “intact… incorruptible.” It stands for soundness of moral principle and character.
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During the time of the 12 Caesars, the Roman army would conduct morning inspections. As the inspecting Centurion would come in front of each legionnaire, the soldier would strike with his right fist the armor breastplate that covered his heart. The armor had to be strongest there in order to protect the heart from the sword thrusts and from arrow strikes. As the soldier struck his armor, he would shout “integritas” to indicate that the armor remained intact.
Integrity…. having a character that is intact and incorruptible….These words and definitions most assuredly describe Walter Jones.
We in eastern North Carolina should be proud of the representation he gave us and proud of the man he was. He leaves a wonderful legacy – giving the country the impression that because he was such an honest and decent man, the people of his district must certainly be of the same mold. Voted the “Most Likeable Congressman,” he also gave the impression that North Carolinians are similarly warm and generous, polite and kind, and yes, likeable. And I certainly like to believe that’s true.
RIP Congressman Jones. You will be missed.