Represent

I am standing before you all today and I am receiving accolade, recognition, and congratulations.  But the fact of the matter is, I am merely a representative.  


A representative of what a man can do when he is sent to war as a part of an eternal brotherhood, and he devotes himself to his brothers on both the battlefield and on the home front.  I am a representative of what is possible when a man takes it upon himself to continue to fight for his brothers no matter the cost.


I am a representative of what is possible when a man is lucky enough to have a wife who matches him strength for strength, and who, by her unwavering support, bolsters his weaknesses.  A wife who believes in him and his mission as much as or more than he does, and is willing to make equal sacrifices for that which he believes.


I am a representative of what a man can become when he has a mother who devoted herself to raising him to be the best man he could be, supporting his decisions as he discovered his path despite her instincts to keep him safe.  A mother whose strength during her own nightmare come to life fed into her son, allowing him to chart a new course.


I represent what happens when a boy grows up with a father to show him the way to manhood by his own example.  A father, who when his son needed him in his most arduous time, instantly came to his son’s aid despite having just retired from a long career, and his desire to enjoy his retirement.


I am a representative of the possibilities a man can have when he has a family that loves him unconditionally.  A family that provides endless encouragement, and who will be by his side in his darkest hours as well as his brightest moments.


I represent the difference a man can make when he has a dedicated and loyal team in his corner.  A team that takes time away from extremely busy lives in order to help him not only reach his objective, but reach it with the greatest impact.  A team that becomes family through the shared experience of fighting his corner.


I represent what can be done when a man strives toward an objective with an entire country behind him.  A country that loves him and his brothers because of their willingness to sacrifice everything and ask nothing in return.  A country that is made up of individuals, businesses, and organizations.  A country that proved that no veteran is alone by their readiness to stand by that man in any conditions as he fights for all veterans.


I am merely a representative of what is possible for any veteran.  Any person.  So as time passes, I do not want my name to be remembered.  All that I want to be remembered is the story.  Years from now when people speak about this, I want them to say, I remember that guy who ran all those marathons that one time.  And their friend will reply, what was his name?  And they will say, I don’t remember, but he was a Marine.