A fallen hero points the way...
Many people, in recent days, have begun to question why the United States continues to send our sons and daughters across the seas to Iraq, and why we continue to allow the flower of our youth to lay their lives upon the altar of freedom.
Across our airwaves, the political and social elites grow weary of the war, and their support for giving up has begun to seep into our national consciousness.
Now, more than ever, our nation needs to hear the words of one of its sons, who has joined the long line of freedom's soldiers in giving up his life so that others may live in the noonday glory of Liberty, rather than the dark shadow of tyranny.
In his speech today, President Bush quoted from the letter of a United States Marine who died fighting in Iraq.
That Marine's words should shake every American to the core, and cause him or her to thank God Almighty that He continues to favor this nation with those who understand the value of that unalienable right of Liberty, given by Him, that they are willing to die for it.
From President Bush's speech, given today at the United States Naval Academy:
Advancing the cause of freedom and democracy in the Middle East begins with ensuring the success of a free Iraq. Freedom's victory in that country will inspire democratic reformers from Damascus to Tehran, and spread hope across a troubled region, and lift a terrible threat from the lives of our citizens.
By strengthening Iraqi democracy, we will gain a partner in the cause of peace and moderation in the Muslim world, and an ally in the worldwide struggle against the terrorists.
Advancing the ideal of democracy and self-government is the mission that created our nation -- and now it is the calling of a new generation of Americans. We will meet the challenge of our time. We will answer history's call with confidence -- because we know that freedom is the destiny of every man, woman and child on this earth.
Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and we have lost some very fine men and women in this war on terror. Many of you know comrades and classmates who left our shores to defend freedom and who did not live to make the journey home. We pray for the military families who mourn the loss of loves ones. We hold them in our hearts -- and we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine.
One of those fallen heroes is a Marine Corporal named Jeff Starr, who was killed fighting the terrorists in Ramadi earlier this year. After he died, a letter was found on his laptop computer. Here's what he wrote:
"If you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq. It's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so they can live the way we live, not to have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of Corporal Starr and his fallen comrades -- and that is to take up their mantle, carry on their fight, and complete their mission.
We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.
You all are the ones who will help accomplish all this. Our freedom and our way of life are in your hands -- and they're in the best of hands. I want to thank you for your service in the cause of freedom. I want to thank you for wearing the uniform. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
I pray that God will bless the family of Corporal Starr; President Bush; the members of Congress; the people of Iraq; and our fighting men and women around the world, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Where they are advancing Liberty, they are advancing a Divinely-favored cause.