Thank you for inviting me to be a
part of your Veterans Appreciation Day.
I feel very strongly about honoring
my fellow Veterans and supporting
That’s part of being a
To me, patriotism means LOVE
and DEVOTION to our country.
I never really thought much about it
when I was a kid.
The terrorist attacks on September
11, 2001 changed that.
I realized how much I
love my country and how safe I’d always felt.
I had never been afraid of
It made me mad to think that my
younger sister and brother would now live with that fear.
I decided that I wanted to help
protect them and my
When my mother asked me why I wanted
to join the military now,
I told her,
“Mom, somebody has to be the good guys.
want to be one of them.”
in my heart.
I was young and strong and proud
when I joined the Army and took
the same one taken by all who join our Armed Forces:
In part it said;
I, Matthew Thomas Drake, do
solemnly swear that I will support
the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and
domestic; bear true faith and allegiance to the same; obey the orders of
the President of the United States and the officers over me, so
help me God.
It wasn’t just my patriotic
duty; now it was my sworn
I trained hard for more than a year
and a half.
Then, with my orders in hand, I
deployed to Iraq, arriving on a very symbolic day,
I did my best
at the job I was trained to do until the day I
was wounded by a suicide car bomber.
The four other men in the vehicle
with me were killed.
Joining the military was my choice.
Going to war was
honoring my oath to follow orders.
When you join the military, you
agree to give up many of your freedoms
so that others can enjoy theirs.
To support any WAR, or not,
is a personal
Supporting our troops and
honoring our veterans
is NOT a CHOICE; It
is our DUTY as Americans.
Everyone who has taken the oath
to fight for our country’s freedom.
Each one fills the shoes of a VETERAN
who took that oath before them.
They ALL deserve this country’s LOVE,
SUPPORT, and GRATITUDE.
for the great love and support you’ve shown me.
Please show every member of the
military, past and present, the same.
Those currently deployed need it
now, AND when they come home.
No one comes home from war without
scars; inside or outside.
Some we can see, and some we can’t
No veteran should ever feel
forgotten or unappreciated.
Each one has paid a price for our
died that day.
Please honor them and all who
paid the ultimate price by
taking care of their loved ones.
Our military has taken an oath to
support and defend our country.
America needs to take an oath to
support and defend our military.
To all the veterans here today,
I offer you my gratitude.
GOD BLESS AMERICA and
every one of you!