Eulogy to Bobby West of Beebe, Arkansas, who was killed in Baghdad May 30, 2006


Bobby West was a soldier. With each beat of his heart he was a true American soldier. What does that mean? Those words seem to lose something after you hear them every night on the news, or from the politician’s lips. I think that I can describe the all American soldier for you; at least I can describe my cousin…

Every soldier enters into a covenant with society. They make a promise creating a sacred bond of trust that we, as Americans, must live up to.  Those young men and women promise that they will fight for us in a foreign land, fight for our shared values, and that they will lay down their lives for us if that is what it takes to protect our citizens and our country.  This is the soldier’s covenant, and just like any convent it is not easily broken, and just like any promise it reveals the character of its keeper.

My cousin died this week fighting for you and me.  He died upholding the covenant that all soldiers make for us.  In our society there is no status higher than that of a person willing to die for what he believes in.  Nothing is nobler, nothing is more honored, and nothing is more sacred. The highest honors before God and our society go to those who would sacrifice all for principle.

I think about that American soldier…Tonight, we may sleep soundly in our warm beds because he is out there in the dust storms. Tonight, we may voice our opposition to policies or plans because he is out there in the dark with a gun.  Tonight, we can go home, kiss our children, watch TV, vote on American Idol, and argue about the war in Iraq… because he is there, upholding his covenant.

This weekend I lost my cousin Bobby, and my mom lost her nephew, and my weeping aunt lost her son, and her other son (who is also in Iraq) lost his only brother, and our country lost a devoted warrior.  The loss to my family is great; but I cannot help but feel that as a nation we have lost so much more than this.  I have no doubt that Bobby West lived up to his promise to us, our nation, and our children. My worry is that we will not live up to him.  It is not often that a true American hero comes our way. Our duty, as grateful bystanders in the war, is to make sure that that soldier is treated on earth as he will be in heaven…With armies of angels heralding the next true American hero. 

We owe all that we are to our troops, male or female, and it is time that we as everyday citizens upheld the covenant! Our troops are not asking for our lives. They are asking for our support before, during, and after their sacrifice. They are asking for our commitment to their noble cause, beyond the “support the troops” bumper stickers, and beyond the twenty second headlines for our fallen heroes.  They are asking that you realize what they fought for, and ultimately, what they died for.

Bobby, I say this to you with overwhelming pride in who you are; and I only wish that you could hear me... you are my inspiration, and my hero.
I love you, and thank you for what you did for us. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Ken L.

Spc Bobby West in Iraq Ribbons on the mother's tree says it all.





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