Last year, I was honored and privileged to give a speech before a local veterans group. Here is my speech.
"Thank you, Commander.Never forget. - Sailor
Distinguished guests, my brothers and sisters in arms, families and friends, good morning. We meet here on this warm May morning, to pay homage to those that died to keep us free.
As I look out amongst you, I see few from my grandfather's generation, who fought in the 'War to end all Wars', WWI. Then I see my father's generation, the 'Greatest Generation', who saved the world from fascism by winning WWII and fought in Korea, the 'Forgotten War', to keep communism in check. This generation further fought the early part of the Cold War, by being ever vigilant and ready. There is my generation who fought in Viet Nam. The cause was just, you won every battle you were engaged in, including the Tet Offensive, which though billed as a loss by the media of the time, was in fact your greatest victory. You crushed the enemy to the point of despair. You did not fail, the politicians failed you. You also took the torch from our fathers and win the Cold War. Finally, I see my son's generation, the Xers. The ones some were concerned would not pick up the torch. They were wrong. This generation fought magnificently in the Gulf War and continues to fight on against terror. I salute each and every one of you.
To those here, that have lost their loved ones in defense of our Nation, I salute you as well, for your sacrifice and your steadfastness in these troubled times.
Today, our Nation is at war once again. While we cherish and pay homage to those that have died in past wars defending our freedoms and our way of life, young warriors are fighting and, sadly, dying to continue to preserve what we hold so dear.
The enemy we fight today, is the same as other enemies we have fought before. They want to destroy us and force their way of life upon us. They are different in their methods. They do not wish to engage our military in major battles, for they know they have no hope of defeating them. Instead, they seek to terrorize us. They target civilians and soft targets. They use people whom they have convinced will become martyrs by sacrificing themselves to kill innocents and our warriors. You WWII vets called them kamikazes.
They know that it is the United States that stands in their way to dominate the Middle East and then Europe and Asia. They try to cower us with their murders and other terror tactics. They do not know, nor do they understand the spirit of the American people. We will not be cowered, instead we rise with steel in our backbones to see that they are eradicated from the face of this planet.
As I speak to you this day, our young warriors are engaging this enemy in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places we do not hear of. This will not be a short or an easy war. We will have successes and we will have temporary failures. We will lose loved ones, both in the military and, tragically, civilians. Our enemy has no remorse in the killing of innocents. But we will see this through to final victory.
In closing, let me say it has been an honor and privilege to have served for twenty years to defend the most free Nation the world has ever known. I respectfully thank those who died to keep America free. I salute our warriors who continue to fight to keep us free. May God bless and keep them and their families. May God Bless the United States of America.
This speech was given by Sailor, SCPO, USN (ret.) before a local VFW."