Gentlemen, and ladies... we have to live with what we've done. We have to fight the silence of the night, the harshness that were our actions... we must question what we did. I've spent the last 2 1/2 years wondering exactly these things. Seeing, hearing and feeling the horrors of combat call into question everything I've learned, everything I was told and everything I've done. I've grown more as a human than I ever thought I would, I've learned the most important things in life by seeing the pain inflicted at the hands of war.
Please, don't confuse any of this. I love this land we call America, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. That doesn't mean I'm blind to where we've been, what we've done or where we're going. I'm concerned, my soul, if you will... is troubled. My moral convictions prevent me from going any further, my hypocrisy goes only so far. I am still proud of most of what I've done, my reasons were pure. Those with me will forever be friends of mine, I love them... I miss them.
I've shed more tears than most men would ever confess to. I've seen far too many young men leave this life, far too soon. The flag I've helped place over those men still has good meaning to me, but I cannot ever look at her without thinking of what men have given for the symbol. My heart breaks. Thinking of the wives, husbands and children who are forever without their loved ones.... remembering the days and nights I feared I'd be one of them. It eats away at you.
I refuse to allow the men I knew who aren't with us, the children who lost their limbs on our battle fields, the wives, the children, the sacrifice.... I refuse to accept that it was all given for anything less than the best we are. Our Liberty, our freedom and our humanity. I refuse to accept that if I don't change where we're going, that my children may have to fight the same battles. I refuse to accept that if we don't change what we have become, I will have left a worse world for my babies. No. I can't do that.
Fellow servicemen, veterans and patriots... we mustn't allow our fates to be that of others. We must fight another fight. Not on some distant battlefield, in some god-awful land... here, on our soil. Our country is not moral, it is not just. Those we've elected to govern are not the true representation of we the people. We must change our course. If not for ourselves, for those who come after us. We are no strangers to sacrifice, we are the few who embrace it. It must be for the right reasons, for the right future.