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Marine speaks on the price of freedom

By Pamela Jackson | | July 9, 2009

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1st Lt. Caleb D. Eames, public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., was the guest speaker for the 18th annual Salute to Veterans and America event in Ashburn, Ga., July 1.

The annual event is hosted by the South Georgia Bank Prime Timers and was attended by more than 600 people, including veterans from various conflicts and branches of service.

Eames told the crowd, “What a privilege it is to talk about the day we celebrate this weekend, Independence Day.  We live in a great land, a country where hard work and honest efforts are rewarded.  In this country of ours, a person low on the totem pole of life can work their way to the top and a person of humble beginnings can influence a nation.”

Eames then asked if everyone recognized just how much we have to enjoy and how fortunate Americans really are and if they are thankful for the many blessings they enjoy.

“We often don’t see what life is like in other countries, but in North Korea, citizens starve while the government builds weapons,” Eames continued.  “In Iran, the people are being beaten and even killed for voicing their opinions.  In Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries, extremists are trying to destroy any progress toward a normal society.”

Eames elaborated further by saying that the victory in Iraq has continued and success has spread from Al Anbar all over Iraq.

“Something once thought unthinkable has happened. Iraqi security is good. Their government is working and the people are safe,” he said.

Eames said his father told him when he was just a boy, that we live in the greatest nation on earth and as a dad, he plans to tell his two sons the same thing. 

“I am so proud to be an American citizen,” Eames added.

“America wasn’t entitled to be great, it was a hard fought battle that made America what it is today,” Eames said. “Many thousands of Americans have bled and died for their country, sometimes far from home, all to keep our nation free.  We need to be thankful to those who have sacrificed for us.”

He told those gathered that freedom is most certainly not free. 

“To those who have worn the uniform, those who have been willing to sacrifice their personal freedoms, to lay it on the line so that the rest of us can live in a stable country of peace, freedom and security, thank you,” Eames said.

Eames added that there are many Americans standing up for what is right.

 “Many of our nation’s youth are joining the military and they are playing a major role in America’s future.  Our young people in the Marine Corps exhibit the highest degree of professionalism, patriotism, physical and moral strength,” he said.

Army Sergeant Major David W. Bass graduated from Turner County High School in 1989 and was home on leave before heading to Ft. Campbell, Ky. 

Having served a little more than 16 years in the Army, Bass said he was more than honored to be a part of this annual event.

“You don’t realize as a child growing up from a small community like Ashburn the patriotism that is felt until you come back.  Every time I come home, I am treated like a hero and this event just keeps getting better each year,” Bass said.

After telling a few jokes and honoring all those who served by asking them to rise once again, Eames led those gathered in a song, ‘God Bless America’.

Eames closed by saying, “We will see victory in this long war just as we now see success in Iraq continuing.  We will win, as long as the patriotism of our communities hold strong like it does right here in this great town of Ashburn.”

Waiting in a long line of people saying thank you to Eames, a little girl tugged at him for an autograph and said he was a hero and thanked him for his service.

Brinson Brock, city president, South Georgia Banking Company, said, “This is our 18th year sponsoring this event and I think this is the biggest and best ever.  I am grateful to the Marine base for participating again this year.”


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