I don’t think anyone enjoys memorial ceremonies but they are a poignant reminder of what we risk when we deploy. Regardless of political or religious beliefs, at the end of the day, we are all soldiers and we all have a job to do that helps the soldier to your left and right make it home.


I never could hear Taps as a kid without tearing up. Now, it is impossible. The American Flag carries a different symbolism for me. The men and women who join our army in a time of war are joining knowing they are deploying to combat. They leave fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives back in the rear while they go and live and fight and die in a far off country.


I can’t explain the pull, the need to be with your soldiers. I can’t explain why a man would cut a cast from his arm in order to go and fight to find his buddies pinned down in a city.


But just because I can’t explain it, doesn’t make it any less real. And the pain of losing a soldier is something that changes the men and women that soldier fought and lived with. We remember the good, we laugh about the fun times but in the end, we pay tribute to a young soldier who died doing what they wanted to be doing.


We all volunteered to be here. Maybe not in Iraq, but we volunteered to serve.


Take a moment today to remember all those who have gone before us. The soldiers who gave their lives in the countless wars in our Nation’s history. Their names are different but they all died a hero’s death and you don’t have to know a soldier to feel the pain of their loss.


To our fallen, thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice. Our prayers are with your families.