Here before us lie the bodies of comrades and friends, men who until yesterday or last week, laughed with us, trained with us, men who were on the same ships with us, and went over the side with us as we prepared to hit the beaches of this island. Some of us have buried our closest friends here. We saw these men killed before our very eyes. Any one of us might have died in their place. Indeed some of us are alive and breathing at this very moment only because men who lie here beneath us had the courage and strength to give their lives for ours.
These men have done their job well. They have paid the ghastly price of freedom. Here lie men who loved America because their ancestors, generations ago, helped in her founding because they themselves, or their own fathers, escaped from oppression to her blessed shores. Here lie officers and men, negroes and whites, rich men and poor—together. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy. Any man among us, the living, who fails to understand that will thereby betray those who lie here dead.
God’s Peace to them and to you.
Chaplain, Colonel, Gary Gilbertson, USAF (Ret.)