You walked in the snow at Valley Forge, boots that were rotting off your feet. You watched your friends die of hunger or cold, but you believed.
You charged across the fields at New Orleans catching the British vulnerable as they come ashore, up until the time musket ball took your life, you believed.
You served an artillery piece at Monterey watching your cannon balls bounce harmlessly off the stone fortifications. General Taylor urged you on, and as you succumbed to malaria, you believed.
You stood on little round top with Colonel Chamberlain and while your buddies and your ammunition dwindled, you could not help but believe when the Colonel sounded Charge! That belief didn’t end when the rebel bayonet found your lungs.
You were a proud 17 year old shoveling coal into the maw of the boilers for the USS Maine. You believed in the great white fleet, and that belief never faded when the explosion took your life.
You were a sergeant in the Army, leading 45 other men over the wire to take out a machine gun outside of Metz. You believed even after watching that same machine gun strike down twenty of your men. When the Germans changed belts on that gun, you fell too.
You came ashore at Iwo Jima, and believed until that mortar round landed on the beach, right beside you.
You were a helicopter pilot pulling out wounded marines at Khe Sanh, and until enemy fire took out your controls and you watched your ship plummet to the ground, you believed.
You were a medic with an infantry company loaded in a Humvee. You believed up to the point the IED killed everyone in the vehicle.
You are the American fallen. Throughout the history of our land, there have been brave men and women who have believed in this country, something greater than themselves. They take up arms in defense of their families, their farms, their faith and the American ideal. They believed that; “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” You laid down your life so that others might live.
This weekend we take a day off work, and remember your sacrifice. We pray that another does not have to sacrifice like you did, but when they do, we will honor them too.
As an American, it is my hope that we live up to the dreams and aspirations of those thousands of men and women who stood at the brink and were pulled over for our sake. May we honor them, and keep this country free and may the torch of Liberty forever burn.