Good Afternoon!

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 our troops.

That’s part of being a patriotic American.

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 terrorism.

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 country.

When my mother asked me why I wanted to join the military now, I told her,

“Mom, somebody has to be the good guys.  I want to be one of them.”

pATRIOTISM burned in my heart.

I was young and strong and proud when I joined the Army and took my oath,
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 and defend
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 duty.

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,
September 11, 2004.

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 choice…
that’s POLITICS.

Supporting our troops and honoring our veterans
is NOT a CHOICE; It is our DUTY as Americans.

Everyone who has taken the oath is prepared 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.

Thank you 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 see.

No veteran should ever feel forgotten or unappreciated.

Each one has paid a price for our freedom.

My friends 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!

Thank you.




Last updated: 09/10/2009                    Hit Counter                        

Questions or comments?  Contact Lisa Schuster (a.k.a., Matthew's mom):