Have you ever seen the movie Saving Private Ryan? In that film there is a line that Tom Hanks delivered, after many had died in order to save Pvt Ryan and hold the bridge. He said, “Earn this.” You see, you are Private Ryan, I am Private Ryan, and we all are. From the War of Independence to the current Global War on Terrorism, American blood has spilled from sea to shining sea. Let me start with some semblance of wisdom, every time America has ever gone into a foreign country is was never to conquer or occupy, it has always been to liberate, and if you can’t get on board with that then you are not an American and I will help you pack your bags. The 40th President once said, “I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is.”
To those who live in this beloved resplendent land, never forget how much the soldiers and servants love you. Always remember that with their last breath as they lay dying in the bloodied fields, they whispered your name. Forgive their many faults and any pains they may have caused. We are all thoughtless and foolish sometimes. But oh you who live in this magnificent patch of earth, if the dead can come back and flit around this world unseen. They will always be with us in the brightest days and the darkest nights. When you feel that soft breeze fanning your face, it is their spirit passing by. We will moan to their deaths but we must never let it deter us from knowing why, why they took up the buckler and spear on our behalf. And we must know that we will meet them again.
For those marked to die, this country suffers a loss, and heaven gains a hero. All we can do is pray it is not one man more. By and by, those like them are not covetous for gold, nor did they care who might feed upon their sacrifices. It will be no bother to them that others seek to stand with riches instead of among those who serve; such desires do not live in them. Henry V once said of warriors that if it is a sin to covet honor, then they are the most offending souls. Let us proclaim to those who have no stomach to fight, depart from us! Make them a passport and fill their pockets with money. We shall not die in the company of such men, and it is not for them to have the honor to die with us.
America is in itself an art and as such it has no explanation through fixed formulas or representations by GDP and graphs. Yet many try to dissect it, to enunciate it and make tangible the intangible. As one tries to gain deeper understanding of the soul by looking at the body, this is impossible. The soul of it is defined by the reflections of our thoughts and actions. Notwithstanding, we turn to external knowledge when trying to define our very selves. It is not in the voluminous tombs of dusty reports, penned and censored recollections where men tried to immortalize their achievements; or yet in the accounts of the worms that try to capture the ghosts of the victors who fought and died. The mighty warriors were often too busy to write of their deeds. And so through the murkiness that is fact and fable, we see a view that stands for liberty, we see America. The history of America is a history of war and war is a history of warriors, few in number and bound with chains to their mighty duty that only omnipotence can break. We need to know that there are many similarities and vast differences between the successful soldier and the successful ones in other professions. There is a vital significance only to the individual and their family when the latter person has success or fails. It is to the soldier that success or failure has an infinitely more important role. It is vital the very life and blood that is America.
When shall we catch the spirit of the soldier’s profession; the spirit of men fighting for a republic! This land so magnificent, our government most consecrated, where men like the Washington’s of America, have fought and died. In this grand purpose America has always been enlisted; and is now contending under the same banners with those brilliant warriors of this earth who have gone before us. With such a cause before our eyes, let us this day remember them.