How could you expect us to understand that and be able to act appropriately on Memorial Day? So I’ll be honest with all of you — I myself do not understand how I should treat veterans or Memorial Day appropriately because I simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of your sacrifice.
Earlier in this speech I told you my name and age, and that was all I told you of myself. The reason for that is that if it were not for you and your sacrifices that is all I would be.
My name is James Michael St. Mark Butler and I am an adolescent citizen of the United States of America, and that’s all because of you.
I am currently receiving a world-class education at a public facility that I attend for free, and that’s all because of you.
I can travel to my heart’s content and enjoy all of the beautiful and priceless bounty and opportunity that this country has to offer, without having my religious doctrine, political views or racial history questioned, challenged or insulted, and that’s all because of you.
I have an older brother studying to become a doctor in physiology, a beautiful mother and a patriotic father, who are both home taking care of me, and that’s all because of you.
We as a generation owe you everything that we have. From the bed that we sleep on to the identities that make us who we are, and we have absolutely no way of paying you back. Absolutely no way! We cannot give you the years that you sacrificed, the friends that you may have lost or the family members that I’m sure you miss very dearly and with all of your hearts.
The only thing that we can do to repay our debt is to use the opportunities and the faculties that you have given us, to create a better world for the next generation to flourish in. And then maybe some other James Michael St. Mark Butler will stand at a podium and babble on endlessly trying to simply say thank you, because that’s all he can do.