Those three words constitute the West Point motto. They are included as part of The Academy Crest which is a component of West Point class rings. I see that crest as well as my 1968 class crest daily when I put on my ring. Below are a few reflections about how those three words have come to have unique meaning to West Pointers.
The history and traditions of West Point, the Corps of Cadets and the United States Army are summarized for incoming cadets in a book called Bugle Notes, much of which we had to memorize as plebes (first year students).
The Cadet Prayer becomes a significant reminder about the three words in the motto and their meaning: "O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of human hearts, help us to draw near to Thee in sincerity and truth. May our religion be filled with gladness and may our worship of Thee be natural.
Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish. Encourage us in our endeavor to live above the common level of life. Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won. Endow us with courage that is born of loyalty to all that is noble and worthy, that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy. Guard us against flippancy and irreverence in the sacred things of life. Grant us new ties of friendship and new opportunities of service. Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance, and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer. Help us to maintain the honor of the Corps untarnished and unsullied and to show forth in our lives the ideals of West Point in doing our duty to Thee and to our Country. All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of all.
Duty: What one ought to do. The essence of duty is explored and understood and acted upon during the cadet years and throughout a lifetime of service to the nation. Oughtness is a compelling anchor for the study of the human condition. Duty is an easier concept than oughtness to ponder/discuss.
Honor: "Strengthen and increase our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and suffer not our hatred of hypocrisy and pretence ever to diminish.... Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won."
"The harder right" and the "whole" truth are challenges throughout life. The Cadet Prayer, The Corps and The Alma Mater reaffirm the meaning of the motto for West Pointers.
Country: The United States of America. At West Point we agreed to "To support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic..." on our first day as New Cadets. That oath meant a lot then and now. A commitment to America was a continuous part of the West Point experience and the aftermath.