Marine’s message appeals to viewers
(Full transcript of speech at end of story)
WASHINGTON — In the last week Staff Sgt. Lawrence Dean’s inspirational piece about the character of troops who enlisted after Sept. 11 has been seen by hundreds of thousands of web surfers and turned him into a minor celebrity almost overnight.
That’s a shock to him, since the piece itself is several years old. And he didn’t even know it was online.
“I guess that’s just God’s way of getting the message out,” he said. “I don’t really know how or why it’s getting attention now.”
The three-and-a-half minute video, recorded shortly after the start of the war in Iraq, features the avionics instructor in a barracks at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina building from a remembrance of New York City to a yelling rebuke for the terrorist attacks there.
“So as long as I’m breathing, I’ll run through hellfire, meet the enemy on the frontline look directly in his face, stare directly in his eyes and scream, ‘I am America, we will not be terrorized, we will not be terrorized, I will not be afraid,’” Dean bellows.
The 12-year Marine, teaching at Cherry Point since 1996, said he has written a number of spoken word pieces over the years, reflections on life, gang violence and the military. This one was written for his grandmother, who asked why anyone would join the military and risk going to war.
He repeated the speech at base events and to young Marines in his classes, and one student asked if he could videotape it to show his parents.
Dean doesn’t know exactly when that was or what happened to the tape, but last year it was put up on Youtube and a few other video sharing sites. Last week a handful of popular military bloggers linked to it for the first time, and suddenly it was an internet hit.
FOX News showed the clip during one show before reporters could identify him. Dean said he has receive a number of other media calls, simply wanting to know who he is and what inspired his words.
“I’ve gotten great reaction before, but it’s always smaller crowds,” he said. “My groups, the Marines I work with, they really understand it. But it’s great to get that message out there.”
Dean said he has more spoken word projects he’d like to do, and other ideas of how to broadcast his creativity and messages.
But before that, he has more an important priority, one that’s no surprise: “Eight more years in the Marine Corps, at least.”
Full transcript of the speechAnd she called
Blacks, whites, wait
African-Americans and Caucasians, Asians, excuse me
Vietnamese, Philippines, Koreans and Jamaicans, all
Haitians, Hispanics, please be patient
Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian
Democrats – I beg your pardon, you partied with the late-great Reagan
Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Five Percenters, Hindui, Sunni, Muslim
Brothers and sisters who
Never seen the skyline of New York City when the twin towers still existed but
Still she called
From the bowels of Ground Zero she sent a 911 distress signal because she was in desperate need of a hero, and didn’t have time to decipher what they call them
So she called them all her children
Children of the stars and bars who needed to know nothing more than the fact that she’d called
The fact that someone had attempted to harm this daughter that covered us all with loving arms
And now these arms are sprawled across New York City Streets
A smoke filled lung
Her soot covered face and a solitary tear parting her cheek
Her singed garments encompass Pennsylvania Avenue, and the Pentagon was under her feet
As she began to talk she began to cough up small particles of debris and said,
“I am America and I am calling on the land of the free.”
So they answered
All personal differences set to the side because right now there was no time to decide on which state building the confederate flag should fly or what trimester the embryo is considered alive or on our monetary units what God should we confide, you see
Someone attempted to choke voice of the one that gave us the right for choice
And now she was calling, and somebody had to answer
Who was going to answer
So they did
Stern faces and chiseled chins
Devoted women and disciplined men who rose up from the ashes like a Phoenix and said,
“Don’t worry, we’ll stand in your defense.”
They tightened up their bootlaces, said goodbye to loved ones, families and friends that tried to bombard them with the hold ons, wait a minutes and what ifs,
And “Daddy, where you going” and “Mommy, why you leaving”
They merely kissed them on their foreheads and said,
“Don’t worry, I have my reasons.”
You see, to this country I pledge my allegiance
To defend it against all enemies foreign and domestic
So as long as I’m breathing, I’ll run through hellfire, meet the enemy on the frontline look directly in his face, stare directly in his eyes and scream,
“I am America
“We will not be terrorized
“We will not be terrorized
“I refuse to be afraid
“I will fight you any country, any continent, any terrain
“I will fight to my last breath
“And if by chance, death is my fate
“Pin my medals on my chest and throw Old Glory on my grave
“But don’t you all cry for me
“You see, my fathers prepared a place
“I’ll be a part of this holy army watching the Pearly Gates.”
Because freedom is never free
POWs and fallen soldiers have paid the ultimate price alongside veterans who put themselves in harm’s way, risking their lives and limbs just to hold up democracy’s way
But still they’ll stand on those same broken appendages every time the national anthem is played
You see, these are the brave warriors that gave me the right to say that I’m black.
Or African-American, Caucasian or Asian, excuse me
I’m Vietnamese, Philippines, Korean or Jamaican
I’m Haitian, Hispanic, please be patient
I’m Mexican, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Cuban, Dominican, Panamanian
Democrat – I beg your pardon, you see I partied with the late-great Reagan
I’m Republican, Independent, Christian, Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Seventh Day Adventist, Five Percenters, Hindui, Sunni Muslim
Brothers and sisters
So with that I say thank you to the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, for preserving my right to live a diverse life and for paying the ultimate price for me to be
See the video on the web: