This excerpt is from SGT Mark's keynote speech at the Veteran's Memorial Wall on Memorial Day 2008. Still seems appropriate today:
"After I returned from Iraq, a part of my unit stayed
behind to complete their 15-month tour.
Weeks from redeploying and on his last mission . . . a friend of mine
walked into a house and was killed instantly by an IED.
He was as good a man as I have ever met. . a devoted family man. . .
Never one to let the Army get the best of him.
Just like every name on that wall. . . he had a story.
Each left behind loved ones and friends.
Each left behind a void that may never be filled.
Despite this. . . let Memorial Day not be a national day of
mourning but a day of celebration. Those of us left
behind must celebrate our cherished memories. . . and what
little time we were fortunate to have with them.
We must celebrate the fact that we are still free thanks
to their sacrifice. We all must celebrate the fact
that through it all . . . despite public opinion or
political climate . . . this country still has sons and
daughters willing to give their most precious
possession in the name of freedom.
As long as this wall stands. . . As long as there are
people still willing to take a day to remember. . .As
long as there are still people willing to put on the
uniform. . .As long as this country remains a beacon of
freedom . . . our fallen shall live on. . . forever."