Thursday, April 07, 2005

Boots In Baghdad Salutes Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith

There are many things that make America what it is. We each have our own perceptions of what makes America special. Some of the first things I think of when I picture America is sun rise from the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine or the veiw of the St. Johns River from Memorial Park right after sunset in Jacksonville. The beautiful thing about America isn’t just the incredible landscape's. The way our oceans engulf the shores with their vibrant life. It isn’t just our mountains, the massive staircases to the heavens that overlook us all. It’s not just our rivers, that connect towns and villages and cities with their rolling currents, or our open fields farmed by generations of blood and sweat. It’s not just our canyons and valleys, which give us a glimpse into the deep heart of the earth. It isn’t just our cities, whose lights glisten for miles. And no, it isn’t the way the sun and moon sparkle in the freedom loving eyes of us all. It is none of these things without the incredible people who have for decades and decades made progress possible through their love of each other and a love for the great and vast American existence. It is the people who wake up every day and go about their business striving to be better than they were the day before. You see, the beautiful thing about America is the power we have in each other. The ability to overcome the most horrific and the most mundane while helping each other all the way.

Today the challenges facing our Nation are some of the most trying since our existence. We are engaged in modern warfare against a ruthless enemy who doesn’t want our land or our money. They want one thing, and one thing only. They want to destroy us. They want to destroy the relationships we have with each other. They want to disrupt our lives and crush our dreams. They know that once the United States of America are united no more, there is no longer a global advocate for freedom. There is no hope for the oppressed in the world. There is no light to work toward, to live for... or to die for.

America is beautiful for the memories we make every day. Waking up and looking out my window, to see my little brother and sister playing in the back yard. Dancing barefoot on the beach at sunset with my first love. Sunday dinner with the whole family, grandparents and aunts and uncles. We all have our memories and our dreams, our loves and our passions. We are free to take the paths we choose. And while we don’t always think about it, these freedoms aren’t free. Men and women who understand the importance of these things, and want to make sure they are preserved, have been sacrificing day in and day out as long as America has been.

Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith is an example to us all. He sacrificed himself for his men and for each and every one of us. His actions will echo through the eternities. There is no greater display of courage or heroism than that of a man who loves his nation and its people more than he loves himself. May god be with his family and his loved ones. And may God be with him as he forever serves in the armies of the heavens. We will never forget.

To read more about Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith go to