The president did two important things today: he took the time to speak about each victim by name, and he said the following:
For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, I think all of us — every single American — must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who have come before.The president is correct about all of this. We have an extraordinary military and the men and women who serve have done extraordinary things. It's easy to take their efforts for granted as we live and work and play. Even in a time of great challenges and great disagreements about many issues, we are incredibly fortunate to be Americans. And the President said exactly the right things today in describing those who work so hard to ensure our good fortune.
We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.
This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in a time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and stations — all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.