On September 11, 2001 the War on Terror became real for America when we were attacked by nineteen terrorists who killed more than 3,000 innocent victims at the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania.
The tide of patriotism that rose in its wake was sufficient to quench the fires of terror and launch an effort that resulted in taking the fight to the enemy in the Middle East. There has not been a terror attack on American soil of such magnitude since 9-11.
This did not happen by accident.
In the original attack and in the subsequent wars, places like the Virginia Military Institute sent its graduates to fight. VMI lost fifteen men who made the ultimate sacrifice in the War on Terror. They were mothers’ and fathers’ sons, brothers, husbands, friends, and Brother Rats. They were and are VMI men.
VMI exists to produce such men and women, citizen-soldiers willing to go in harm’s way when our Nation calls.
This is what the price tag for freedom looks like when you go to a school like VMI, from whence the leaders come to fight America’s wars.
Today, I honor every person who has been impacted by this unprovoked, cowardly act. I honor these VMI men, our best. Look into their eyes and recognize the sacrifice they made for us, me, you.
Rest in peace, good and faithful warriors, VMI graduates. You answered America’s call; you did your duty; you defended freedom; you delivered on the sacred promise that is VMI.
A grateful Nation mourns your loss and honors your sacrifice. RVM