Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Rick Perry's War on Terrorism Tribute

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Thursday, May 24, 2007  •  Speech

Good morning. We come to this chamber on many a morning to engage in the democratic process. We come here today to pay tribute to those who gave their lives in protecting it. Today our hearts are heavy not only for the lives lost, but the dreams extinguished. And no one feels more sorrow than the loved ones who have suffered such profound loss. When you waved them off for their last tour of duty, you knew such a day like this might be possible. And I know, as proud as you are today of the one whose life you mourn, you would trade every recognition ceremony in order to have them back to share one more smile and one more “I love you.” That has all been taken away, as has a future that once was bright with possibility. As with previous American wars, so often the ones who die on foreign soil were in the dawn of their lives when they departed this earth. Some too young to have children, some before they ever had a chance to see their children graduate from school or get married to the love of their life. Instead, they surrendered their every dream so children thousands of miles away might one day be free.

The war on terror, or more specifically, the terrorists’ war on us, reminds us that freedom is not free. In the 20th Century, this lesson was learned by generation after generation that fought in the trenches of Europe, that rolled back the Nazi forces of oppression and the Japanese threat in the Pacific, who fought the communists in Korea and Vietnam, and who drove a dictator out of a small Muslim Country in the Persian Gulf. Today, the threat comes from a new kind of enemy, but the cost of defending freedom remains great.

These Texans we remember today are the heroes of freedom who responded to the call of their country to make the world safer for democracy. We can in no way measure the depth of their devotion in giving up their every tomorrow for our today. Their sacrifice is beyond any words glorious enough to describe it. And while we would all wish that such ceremonies like this would never be needed, as long as they are, we have a solemn duty as a people: to never forget what was offered on the altar of sacrifice so that we might be free. We must never forget who they were, or the heroism of their deeds. Nor must we forget the loved ones they leave behind who will live the rest of their lives with a void that can never be filled. To each of you here today who mourn for such great loss, we offer not only our gratitude, but our prayers: that the God of comfort might console you. Though their lives were taken, the virtue of their lives and the heroism of their deeds can never be erased. They died as they lived- as heroes. And America will always be indebted to them. Thank you, and God bless you all.

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