The Marine Corps Marathon finishes with an incline for the last .2 miles of the 26.2 mile race, ending at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Memorial) in Arlington. The memorial depicts the 5 Marines and 1 U.S. Navy corpsman that raised the American flag using a pipe found in wreckage at the summit of Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima, February 23, 1945. The battle at Iwo Jima lasted 36 days with many causalities – 21,800 Japanese and 6,800 American lives were lost. Many, many more American soldiers were injured.
It is hard to understand the need for war and the subsequent loss of lives, but I am very thankful for the men and women willing to lay their lives down to defend the United States of America and the freedom of others in various parts of the world. Throughout the history of our country, many courageous men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Almost every war I think about makes me ponder, “was it really necessary?” I don’t know exactly, but I do know that our freedoms have been preserved and our country has prospered – to the point that we have been able to benevolently poor out aid to numerous other nations for many years.
I want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all veterans and active duty service men and women that have served our great country. I don’t take our freedoms for granted and I know freedom is not really free. It is very costly and is a tremendous responsibility. I don’t take lightly that I have been privileged to live in a country with abundant food and water, where women hold equal rights as men (so many parts of the world treat women with contempt), where I have the freedom to speak my mind and worship my God. To all of you, I am deeply humbled and thankful for your sacrifice to ensure that my daughter and the youth of our nation will have this same opportunity. You have done everything you can to preserve our freedoms. I understand and I am committed to doing my part to ensure that the United States continues to be known as the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” I understand that each American citizen has a responsibility in making this happen.