A few days ago, I posted a speech Marine General John Kelly gave to eulogize two brave Marines who greeted certain death with a handful of hot lead and a pair of wide open eyes.
Well, just yesterday, Kelly gave another unforgettable speech at the 5th Marine Regiment Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial Dedication ceremony.
In a thick Boston accent, Kelly touched on the inherent multiculturalism in the Marine Corps, as well as the very nature of military service, best characterised by the word “sacrifice.”
Then he eulogized all the lost Marine infantrymen of the 5th Marine Regiment ( — next to the dirty 1st — ) the most decorated and experienced regiment in the Marine Corps.
Kelly himself lost a son to combat in Afghanistan, and he related directly with the families of those who fell in America’s most recent wars.
He said to the Marines and families:
You will all soon enough finish your military service and go home to the cities, to the villages, to the hometowns that you come from, all across America.
You will hopefully find wonderful spouses and raise children who are at least as good as you are. Who will hopefully bring you great pleasure.
For sure, you will put on a lot more weight, many of you will lose your hair, but regardless or where you go, how fat you get, or what you do for the rest of your life, never forget, and be proud, till the day you die, that you served your country.
And in many cases, fought and died for it.
And never forget your buddies, that never made it home.
Remember them for the heroes they are, for the commitment they made, for the price they paid, and pray for their families and their loved ones, and their friends, they left behind.
Keep memorial day sacred, for this purpose. Never forget. We owe them at least that much.
And now, to the precious Gold Star families:
To the mums and dads, sisters and brothers, spouses and friends of the fallen — I am sorry.
From the bottom of my own broken heart, I am sorry.
I think I can accurately say that from the moment you were informed of his death, you have struggled endlessly with the question as to whether it was worth it …
Every time I have asked it, I have come up with the same answer …
It came to me the day I stood beside his grave at Arlington, as men exactly like him, folded his flag, so lovingly.
I realised the question was not mine to ask, or to answer. That it didn’t matter what I thought, only what he thought.
The answer was his to give, and he gave it by his actions of that day.
For the entire life that brought him to the instant he was lost.
When he went down, he was exactly where he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do. Surrounded by the best men on this earth, his Marines and his Doc. And I thank them for caring for my boy, after God in his wisdom, and for his own purpose, took him to eternity.
That is the answer to all my questions. I need nothing else.
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