By Robert C. Brophy
Speaking today is a great honor and privilege for me and I appreciate this opportunity to dedicate our labors. First I would like to take a moment and tell you why these days of Renewal and Remembrance mean so much to me.
Forty-six years ago this month I held in my hand orders that my Army unit, the 2nd Squadron lst Calvary Regiment was going to Vietnam on August 6th, 1967, that all leaves were canceled and we were to prepare our equipment for overseas shipment. We were going to Vietnam as a unit.
These orders were no surprise to any of us as we had been in intensive training for six months and now the waiting and training were over. I was going to war like my grandfather and my father before me.
Trained as a medic, I knew my trade but little did I know how much I would have to use those skills in the months to come. The 2nd Squadron lst Cavalry Regiment was a small unit, only 1,000 men strong. But in the time the unit was in Vietnam it put over 180 names on the wall across the river. Some of my personal friends; some of them rest in these grounds.
For them, we must forever remember who we are. We are a nation of people who are willing to work and grow as our abilities allow us. You PLANET members are a great example of who we are – Americans.
Many PLANET members had a dream to own their own businesses, to grow their businesses and to benefit from the profits of those businesses. Knowing it would take hard work and long hours to achieve that success did not scare you. Why? Because you knew that what you earned and made of yourself was yours to enjoy. This is the right given to you, to all of us, by those who rest in these grounds.
Today, as you work on these grounds, take a minute here and here to read some of the names on the headstones. You will see names from every country in the world. Yet, being in this place makes them American names. We Americans are an amalgamation of all the countries and peoples of the world. Just read the names on the trucks in the parking lot over there and you will see what America is all ab out.
I would like for you to take a second at this time and than the person beside you, then thank the person on the other side. These are the people that make this industry and this country great and successful.
Today we are here to honor those who rest here.
We are here to honor my friend Charlie, a fellow medic, who died trying to deliver a Vietnamese baby. We are here to honor one of my high school buddies, Lanny Bowman, who was taken by a land mine in 1967.
We are here for the very first occupants who only wanted to keep this American alive when our country was so badly torn by the Civil War. We are here for my grandfather’s friends who ave the last full measure in the trenches of France. We are here for my father’s fellow airmen who flew off and never came back from missions in WWII. We are here to honor those who serve today like my daughter and son-in-law are captains in the U.S. Air Force.
Today it is my privilege to dedicate our work on these hallowed grounds to them and to those from each generation who have given so much for the freedoms that people enjoy around thew world. For the next few hours we are going to walk the final resting place of some of the greatest men and women on the earth.
As young men and women that told our country, "Here is my life, take it, use it and keep it if you must." Many of them gave all.
Here in Arlington rest those who gave the last measure of life so that others could walk free, live full lives, raise children or have grandchildren. Some resting here gave their entire lives to our country in service and, with great honor, came to rest here.
To those resting here we say "Thank You" and give you our labors.