A more personal look at Sgt. Clay’s letter

I was fortunate enough to serve side by side with Staff Sgt. Dan Clay.

Marine Staff Sgt. Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American.

Here is what Dan wrote: “I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to. … Never falter! Don’t hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.”

Staff Sgt. Dan Clay’s wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Our nation is grateful to the fallen who live in the memory of our country. We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our nation’s uniform ” and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of America’s military families.”

The above was taken from President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address given Wednesday. While, unfortunately, I was unable to watch this address because of homework requirements, I was fortunate enough to serve under, and at times side by side, the said Marine. Staff Sgt. Clay was and will be remembered as the true epitome of a Marine. He was noted as one of the unit’s finest (a unit that just recently returned 11 men short, mind you) and one of the most extraordinary leaders I have ever met. Staff Sgt. Clay served his nation and, in doing so, paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I urge everyone to remember that, he, and every other service member for that matter, paid this sacrifice not to suffice some personal agenda but to protect his or her fellow Marines, family, everyday citizens of this country as well as everyday citizens of Iraq.

Please, no matter your thoughts on the current administration or the war in Iraq, remember that these sacrifices allow you and me to carry on with our everyday lives (lives that may comparably seem quite selfish).

In my opinion, which I realize is just that… “My opinion,” the least we can do is be a bit grateful and try to keep all of the connected friends and family members within our blessings.

Christopher M. Bowles is a University student and Marine. Please send comments to [email protected]