To all in attendance, I first must say I apologize for not being able to attend in person. My deepest regrets as I'm unable to get away from my current duties.But I do want to take this time and write a few words to say thank you to all in the Hope For The Warriors organization. Thank you for what you do for all our nation’s service members, most specifically our wounded. It’s remarkable to know our young Americans who have raised their right hand and volunteered to support and defend this great nation, are never forgotten. That there are great Americans taking care of fellow great Americans. This is what makes our Country unique and special. This is the American spirit and the American way. People are the US Armed forces greatest asset, and two of those great Americans are in attendance today. While there are three individuals depicted in the statue you see before you, I can assure you I was nothing more than an unlucky individual who was fortunate to be surrounded by many of the greatest of our generation. In this particular case I had one on both flanks of me by the names of then LCpl Dane Shaffer and Chris Marquez. The date of Nov 13th, 2004 was a day that brought many unfortunate casualties. However it was also a day when young Americans showed what they were made of and displayed extraordinary spirit and heroism.
I remember vividly as I lay wounded inside the house that day, two young Marines who suddenly appeared at my side. They did so after running across an open room covered by deadly automatic weapons fire. The thing that first caught my attention, besides that they were crazy, was neither Marine carried a weapon. They left them behind, so they would have their hands free in order to more capably carry me to freedom. First, this displayed the trust they had in their fellow Marines who were assigned the task of covering them as they crossed the open room unarmed. There was only one way out, and that was back through the same kill zone that already caused several Marines to be wounded. They ended up crossing that kill zone four times, each time unarmed, and each time trusting their fellow Marines.They did it because they were Marines. And that's just what Marines do.
To the Marquez and Shaffer families, if you are in attendance, you should be very proud. If we ever ask where we get such fine men, we only have to look as far as their family.We as a nation should never forget men like these two and all the others who serve today in one of our nation’s most trying times. They are truly incredible Americans and it was my honor to serve beside them.
Again, I want to say thank you and God Bless.
Semper FiSgtMaj Brad A Kasal
United States Marine