A few words for our soldiers. The Revolutionary War, like all wars before it and after, hinged on the motivation and commitment of the common soldier. Motivations vairied of course. The beginning of the war saw a great turnout of men willing to go cross swords with the worlds sole superpower in the name of Freedom and a little less taxes. As the war progressed, these motivations were simply not enough to sustain an army. Dispite the magnificint work of Thomas Paine, the Revolutionary soldier often had to make an impossible choice. Fight for the creation of a new world, or support their own farm and family.
Washington recognized this of course. He motivated these remarkable men to stay a little longer until he could convince the congress to pay them. But until then, they were to walk barefooted through the snow and carve out critical victories that sustained the cause. But eight years later, the Continental army consisted of a ragged group of poor men. Hope and the promise of a better life sustained them. Soldiering and the humble wadges it offered, was the only way to a better life.
Soldiering rarely brings fame, and even less so money. What motivates men to fight for their country is a complex thing. There are many reasons and all these reasons must be honored: pride, country, family, way of life, right of passage and hope. The hope for a better life, and the freedom to choose how to live it, is the greatest gift of the fallen soldier. So it is here I humbly give you my thanks. And since it is memorial day, I want to especially thank those brave men and women who passed into another world in obscurity. The hope for a better world rests with you.