"I cherish the conversation that I had with my grandson, when he said, 'Grandpa are you a hero?' I said, 'No, but I served in the company of heroes.'
Major Richard Winters
What can be said today that has not already been said about those who have given their lives in the course of their duty? I have spent much of my life in the Army and have always been in awe of those veteran's who came before me. I am profoundly grateful for men and women who say by their actions that 'my life is not as important as the life of my brother or sister'. Time and again in our country's honored past, soldiers, sailors, and airmen, have gone forth and did what many would not and could not do and that is to devote their life to a cause bigger than themselves.
I remember when I was stationed at Walter Reed in Washington D.C., I used to take the metro down to Arlington Cemetery and I would stroll through the seemingly endless rows of white. I would often times stop in front of one of the headstones and read the displayed name. Each headstone represented a person. That amazed me. It is so easy to look at the beauty of Arlington Cemetery and forget that each white stone is a shadow of a life that was given for me and for my family.
I have long appreciated these fallen soldiers and even more the loved ones who suffered the loss of their son, daughter, husband, wife, father, mother. While the rest of us are safe and enjoying the company of our family and friends, the families of the fallen have nothing but memories. It is a sad reality of war and conflict that those who go forth don't always come home.
In this conflict, we in the military have lost friends and we have had to observe and endure the horrors that come with war. It is often said and it is so very true, that 'no one prays for peace more than a soldier, because the soldier has to bear the darkest wounds of war.'
Well, today, I would like to say that I am so thankful for those who have come before us and who have given selfishly. I thank the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones and we want you to know that we suffer with your pain and we honor your spirit.
For families who have loved ones still in harms way, we understand your heart and we pray for peace. We are all working as a family here to bring everyone home safely. I would like to believe that we, as members in the military, are in the business of building peace. We labor for peace, we fight for peace, and we pray for peace. Please, let it be that not one more person should fall.
I want to thank you all for your support of us through out these last few years. We have had such a long and difficult path to tread since 9-11 and we are tired and we want to come home. Please pray that the Lord honors our desire for peace and when you go to bed tonight please take a moment to remember those who have gone on before us.
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."