Below is the speech that I gave at our reunion banquet that was held Friday evening 22 October 2004 at the Ventura Beach Merriott Hotel, Ventura, CA,
22 October 2004
Welcome to you, my Band of Brothers of the 224th Infantry Regiment. I am honored to be your president and to lead this 5th reunion of this heroic gathering of men and women. I remember a half-century ago your then strong infantry hardened legs bravely climbing those rocky, snowy mountains of Korea to close with our enemy of that time. We may be getting long in the tooth and a few of us are showing the ravages of time, but our hearts are young and our love of country still burns as brightly as ever.
I want to say a few words to my comrades of long ago---words that I hope will reflect your deepest heartfelt thoughts and experience. There was a time when whether RA or NG or Reserve or draftee, that we willingly laid it all on the line, Too many of us, and of the Greatest Generation just a decade before us, paid the ultimate sacrifice in a savage world gone mad. The difference between good and evil were clear, as a mountain spring and our intentions were as pure. We wished to bring the precious freedom we knew to that part of the world that had long suffered under one cruel master after another.
Now, the awesome might of America is vital to the world…Imagine a world without America. There is a massive misunderstanding,,,,,much of it malicious, born of envy…..that tries to weaken us from within. There are those who blame America for every evil in the universe. Moreover, there is almost nothing from history to teach us what to do. The war on terror must be fought yet it cannot be in conventional, set-piece battles. With all of our incontestable military might, this war must be won by Conviction of our beliefs as well as the power of our guns.
Our enemies love hideous cruelty, slavery, and death. We love life and liberty. This is not unique in history. WWII saw the Kamikaze air attacks of the Japanese, the bloody banzai attacks of their infantry. Our war was replete with suicide wave attacks. Nevertheless, because we valued our own, and our comrades lives, we overcame.
However, there was a vast difference in spirit in both WWII and the Korean War as contrasted with today. I refer, of course, to American society. As the military spent America's finest youth on the field of battle, the vast majority of the people, even the congress and, dare I say it, the Press-------supported the mission and accepted that the sacrifice would lead to a greater good. Today, we are a nation split by those who believe in the American Dream and those whom I charitably call moral blank slates. A stronger, perhaps more accurate term is traitor. I do not exclude many of our current politicians from these categories. Too many of them place lust for power above the values of the founding fathers. What a contrast is their cravenness with "Our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
We old fogies cannot fight wars any longer. What we can do at every opportunity is share our knowledge and life experience and our dreams of freedom and true democracy. That may sound corny, but I have found in my contact with the younger generation that they hunger for solid moral food. They sense evil when they hear the words of today's quislings with their pseudo-intellectual babble. History may be distorted and revised by the America-haters among us but those of us who LIVED the history can set the record straight.
America is not just a place, the most generous country in the history of the world. America is an inspired set of ideas.
The universal yearning of the human heart throbs in the flood of immigration to this haven of liberty. Even some of the Islamic fascists who would butcher us and who are pouring onto our shores succumb to the idea of true liberty.
Nevertheless, we must deal harshly with the true believers of this "religion of Peace" who behead the innocent and murder children with car bombs. Otherwise, the war that started in the 7th century, this unholy war, will go on for generations. We must triumph in the war of ideas.
That is our last mission. We old geezers can no longer saddle up and sling our MI's but we can carry the message of liberty with all the spunk we have left. We must remind all that "Freedom is not Free.