"AMERICA, THE LAST FREE SOCIETY FOUNDED IN LIBERTY UNDER GOD, STILL EXISTS A THREAD OF HOPE IN THE FABRIC OF A WORLD REPLETE WITH TYRANNY TOWARDS MAN AND TREASON TOWARDS GOD. WE ARE STILL FREE BECAUSE MEN OF HONOR AND COURAGE DEEPLY BELIEVED THAT THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS A NOBLE CAUSE.
Shortly after the liberation of Rome in 1944, I had the opportunity to visit the Sistine Chapel and observe Michelangelo's portrayal of our Creator reaching out to touch the fashioned clay that would be mankind. When our Creator breathed the fire of life into the dust that was to be man, He imbued in man's soul a spark of Freedom. Tyrants, since the dawn of creation have attempted to destroy man's desire to worship his Creator and to stifle and smother that spark of Freedom.
In the coliseum of Rome, on the steppes of Russia, in the concentration camps of Europe, in the rice paddies of China, on the jungle floor of Vietnam and Cambodia, in the mountains of Laos and Afghanistan, on the desert of Arabia, in the land once called Yugoslavia lie the bodies and bones, the dust of countless millions who are martyrs to the cause of Freedom.
In 1856 a poet stood in a square in Budapest, Hungary, and shouted to a multitude fighting against the tyranny of Russia, "Shall we free men be, or slave? Choose the lot your spirit craves!" Thousands of young Americans who never heard these words have volunteered to fight against the cause of tyranny because they believed in Freedom.
It has been my privilege to fight in Africa, Europe and Asia, to serve in many foreign lands and to meet the people, Kings and Commoner, Presidents and peasants of those countries. I have helped to temper the iron of a blacksmith in Greece, to teach the children in Japan, to pull the nets of the fisherman from out the China Sea. I have dug the grub-hoe into the side of a hill in Vietnam and helped the mountain people plant their highland rice, I have delivered sustenance and toys to orphanages in the War zone and watched the children’s' smiles illuminate the day.
Among all the ideas and customs, the hopes and desires of people whom I encountered, whether they be soldier or strangers, king or peasant, rich or poor, they all had but one desire --to be left alone in peace, to be free. But the price of Freedom comes high. The sacrifices that purchased our liberty cannot be commemorated with a few words, or even one book, or with a one day observance, or a brief speech.
Today many make heroes of those who achieve fame and fortune as troubadours of song or who portray, as actors on stage and screen, the hero we would want to be. The real heroes remain unsung, lost and buried, some in foreign lands. They achieved in their young lives far more than the tinsel fame of the movie hero and never received the screaming adulation from the immature who worship at the shrine of the Jungle rock and roll. They did not receive the roaring acclamation of the masses in our sports coliseums. They lived, often in misery, in stupefying heat, in bone-freezing cold. They died tough. Some died with sweat, some with blood, some with tears in their eyes. They sacrificed themselves for our freedom in strange places called Kasserine, Sbeitla, Gafsa, Salerno, Anzio, Cassino, Rotundo, Mount Lungo, Guadacanal, Luzon, Okinawa, Masan, Taegu, Sinanju, Chosin, Khe San, Dat To, Khontum, Pleiku--battles that bring to mind Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Chateau Thierry, the Argonne, places where my forefathers, your antecedents fought and bled.
When our Creator reached out and gave mankind life, he also provided our soul with a spark of freedom which is the pathway to the liberties we enjoy. Our comrades-in-arms, who served so nobly and sacrificed so dearly were the shield and armor for all of us who enjoy the privilege, the liberty, the bounties of this nation. They accepted a challenge, we must accept a similar demand. They had a duty, a responsibility, a cause to serve embodied in the Declaration of Independence, in the Constitution of the United States and in the free society in which we live. They served these Institutions and the United States of America, and you and I with courage, devotion, duty, loyalty, sacrifice and honor. We who received the benefits of that sacrifice, that duty, that loyalty also have a responsibility and duty to serve that spark of freedom given to us by God. It is the essence of the Judaeo-Christian faith that mankind received liberty from his Creator, that man is free to choose, that man has a God-given right to liberty. We live in a country that at its birth was created with this premise, "All men are created equal, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, and liberty."
To our comrades who died in service to their country a fitting memorial to them would be these words carved in gold:
"TELL THE NATION THAT WE LIE HERE OBEDIENT TO THEIR LAWS AID THE NOBLE CAUSE OF LIBERTY." MAY GOD GIVE US THE WISDOM, THE INTEGRITY, THE COURAGE TO SERVE THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM. FOR WE UNDERSTAND THAT HE WHO FAILS TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, OR SERVE THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY WILL DIE A COWARD OR LIVE AS A SLAVE. MAY OUR CREATOR FOREVER KEEP THIS THE LAND OF LIBERTY.