Sergeant Whitie:I know you didn't want military honors, or the box of medals and commendations they sent us when you passed on, Whitie. I know you didn't want the grave-marker with the little flag they change on Decoration Day. I know you didn't like to remember the war or the three and a half years you spent in combat. It wasn't that you didn't think the sacrifice was warranted. On the contrary, it embarrassed you to be honored for something you considered your inescapable duty.
But as one vet to another and as one who sacrificed little but three fairly quiet years of my life, I can't help but remember you today and the very real sacrifice you made to rid the world of authoritarianism and a racist cult. I know it would sadden you to see all of that alive and well and thriving in the country you loved. Rest assured I'm fighting it the only way I know how, with my passion for freedom and democracy, with experience gained, like you, elsewhere in the world, and with my words, which have always been the most powerful arms I know.
Thanks for all that, Dad, and thanks for imbuing me with the values to know the meaning of liberty and the value of not backing down in the face of tyranny.