In Honoring the Veteran, We 1stPay Tribute To The Fallen.
Hon. Thomas H. Armbruster, U.S. Ambassador of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
We remember the five Medal of Honor Recipients of the Kwajalein, Roi Namor, and Eniwetok battles. We remember the Marshall Islands hero Sgt. Solomon T. Sam, of the 84thEngineer Battalion who died in Iraq, and in whose honor that same battalion built a basketball facility in Majuro. We welcome the Sam family here today. We remember our own friends and family who served who are no longer with US. Of whom, President Kennedy said,
…” They are the race. They are the race immortal. Whose beams make Board the Common Light of Day! Though time may Dim, though Death has barred Their Portal, These, we Salute”…
President Obama reminds us to say two words to veterans and those on active duty today. “Thank You!” Thank you to those who fought here in the Pacific Theatre. Thank you to the Vietnam and Korean War Vets, who saw us through the dangerous days of the Cold War. And thank you to the One Million Vets, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And those still there. And those here today!
I would like to recognize the service of the Marshallese citizens and say “Kommol”. English writer G. K. Chesterton said, “The True soldier fights not because he hates what’s in front of him, But because he loves what’s behind him.” For the family members of service men and women here today, “Thank you for supporting your service member.” I know they are in your prayers every day, just as you are in their prayers. No distance can change that. I Believe Marshallese Citizens join at a higher rate than any US state because we share the same goal, a world that is Prosperous, democratic and free. They also join because of USAKA. This base provides a Good example of what the military can DO. And the service people here are a great example of what you can become. Jefferson Bobo, the first Marshallese Coast Guard Cadet, is a great role model. And, Marshallese American Citizens join the US military provides unparalleled skills. Employers who hire veterans are getting the best people available. With skills and values that last a lifetime. Every new Foreign Service Class includes veterans. The US Embassy is proud to have former Marine Russell Langrine and Army veteran Fred Nysta on our local staff, and Navy veteran Ed Robinson as our TDY Consular Officer.
In International Relations, there’s a spectrum from soft Power – the diplomacy and development work- to hard Powers. While everyone overseas is an Ambassador for their country, only those in uniform delivers and face hard Power. I have been fortunate to see the Professionalism and dedication of the military all over the world. Some of the best diplomats I have worked with are in the military. Here in the Marshalls, we saw the Person to Person diplomacy: Med Outreach and the overall good work of Pacific Partnership, Humanitarian Mission like that. That used USS Pearl Harbor to deliver aid and experts, are carried out every day. Already, the US is mobilizing to help the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. Global Security today means they are ready to face foes and help our friends in times of need.
My wife Kathy’s Grand Father fought in the Pacific. I hoped to hear more about it. One day on the Porch, listening to the Oriole game, I asked him about it. He puffed on a cigar and said, “It was terrible” then he went back to the game and his cigar. Their Generation left the war behind and never said much about it.
It was a different time then and we did not recognize or appreciate the toll of war. Now, there are hundreds of organizations for vets – like Student Veterans of America, K-9’s for veterans and the disabled veterans Nations National Foundation. There are ways to get involved for veterans and civilians. Maybe the best way to honor their service is for us to find ways to contribute; each in our own way. For you young folks – my suggestion: Learn about the history here. Read the book “UNBROKEN” for example and see why the cafeteria here on Kwajalein is named in Lois Zamperini’s honor. Find out why Angelina Jolie is making a movie about Mr. Zamperini. Stop at the Battlefield markers here and imagine the action. And talk to a vet. Just make sure he or she is not smoking a cigar.
If you are interested in Diplomacy and Development, come talk to me!
Finally, we remember…
We say thank you…
And we take courage from the strong.
Remembering to “Beareth all things”
“Believeth all things”
“Hopeth all things”
And “Endureth all things”
Komol Tata !!