Today our nation pays tribute to those brave American soldiers who have defended and are defending our freedoms and rights. America is an idea and it is also an ideal.
Americans fought in Lexington and Concorde, west of the Mississippi and in Mexico, at Bull Run and Gettysburg, at Cantigny and the Marne, at Iwo Jima and Northern Africa, at the 37th parallel, at Saigon and Vientiane, in Beirut and Panama, and in Iraq and Afghanistan. They fought on the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, they fought in the air. They came from different social and cultural backgrounds, the consisted of many different religions and races, and their ancestors came from every corner of the world. Each war was fought against those who wished to destroy this country and for the preservation of American ideals. Because of their heroic sacrifice and courage America has prevailed for more than 200 years.
These soldiers, sailors and airmen, as well as their families, make huge personal sacrifices in order to defend our ideal. Deployment weighs heavily on these families, whether its Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe or the Far East, especially when tours of duty are extended. The military is a very special community that pulls together and endures in a time of crisis. Still the heinous and callous acts of murder committed by a gunman last Thursday at Ft. Hood were shocking and nearly too much to take.
"No faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor," President Barack Obama told the crowd gathered yesterday at Ft. Hood for a memorial service. "And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice -- in this world and the next." These reassuring words did provide some comfort for this special community has been though so much.
In President Obama's words, "I think all of us - every single American - must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before. We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes."