By Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr.June 8, 2007
Thank you all. Thank you for that kind introduction. It's great to also be able to congratulate my fellow honorees.
I had to remind myself when I was standing in between Hulk Hogan and Dwayne Wade what we say about the Casey's athletic prowess. We may not be big, but we're slow.
It is also especially gratifying to be recognized for something I'm so proud of. Because of all the things I have done in my life, I am most proud of my boys, Sean and Ryan.
Now, we've had our moments, particularly in their teenage years. But I honestly think that if you asked them today, they'd tell you they are quite satisfied with what I've learned in the last 15 years.
It's been wonderful watching them grow into men of integrity and compassion who are wonderful fathers themselves. And I can't claim full credit for that at all.
Being a military father, I haven't been around a lot. And my wife of 37 years - Sheila - has done a lot of mom and dad work. So, God bless you Sheila - I love you.
Fortunately, they also followed in the Casey luck tradition--they married well. So their brides, Laura and Jennifer keep them on the straight and narrow.
Now I would also like to use this opportunity to recognize Military Fathers that will be deployed around the world this Fathers' Day defending the ideals that make this country great and preserving our way of life.
Being a military father particularly in time of war isn't easy. To balance the needs of the nation with raising a family and teaching their sons and daughters. is not easy, it's tough. And it's tougher when a military father becomes a casualty of war.
And over the last 6 years, since the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked, there have been over 5,000 Army children who have lost parents-- and their sacrifice can never be forgotten.
I would like to close by reading you a poem that was written by a soldier - that captures some of the emotions that soldiers feel about their children.
It's called A Soldier's Prayer to His Son:
Fate has caught me on this day
Death now comes to take me away;
Before I give the lord my soul to take,
One last prayer to my son I make.
Listen my son, I speak the truth,
Squander not your time or youth;
For never you'll know when your day is here,
So cherish all which you hold dear.
Love your family and your friends,
For they'll stick with you to the end.
Let burn that celestial fire inside,
Or to yourself you will have lied.
And now my son I pray to thee
Never ever forget me;
That I died a soldier's death
To keep you free with my last breath.
Now my son the truth is told;
Always remain strong and bold;
Always keep yourself in good standing;
For to you everything I'm now handing.
The torch I now give to thee,
Hold it high for liberty.
Let the flame burn, forever unbroken,
So you'll never forget the words I've spoken.
This was written by Sergeant Dennis Flanagan who served in Iraq in the 101st Airborne Division.
He was killed by an IED in January 2006.
I think you'll see the values that he speaks of in that poem are the same values that we all cherish from parenthood. And I can tell you, you can be very very proud of your men and women in uniform. They represent the best of what this country is all about.
I ask that you keep them in your prayers.
God bless you all. God Bless America.