At the end, I went over to him and rubbed my sweaty hand through his sweaty whiffled hair and thanked him. Buster smiled and said, "It was fun." I thought to myself that, with his attitude, he was about as perfect a young man as I ever knew. He always seemed to have a great attitude, which marked him as a person to watch and follow. And that was another lesson from Buster’s life.
Attitude is important. No matter how you define it, you can always tell when someone has a good attitude. People with good attitudes are like magnets, other people are drawn to them and want to be on their team. They inspire other people to have similar attitudes.
Buster’s good attitude, toughness, ability to pick friends and know right from wrong, is what made him stand apart. That is the reason we are dedicating this memorial to him.
When you walk by his memorial, please be reminded who he was and what the memorial represents. It is not a simple decoration, it represents a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
For the reasons stated today, let Buster’s example be an example for all of us. He deserves to be remembered but, as important, we owe it to ourselves to remember what he represented.
Here are my final words today about Buster. Of all the people I've ever known, he is in the top tier. Buster was completing his tour of duty in Vietnam, and it was almost time to come home when he was killed on July 14, 1969, a month shy of his 21st birthday. This memorial is not a simple decoration, it represents a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, and it is representative of all those who have done so.
When I’m in Washington D.C., I always visit the Vietnam Memorial and go to Buster’s name. I’ll stand here and think about him, and I am filled with emotion and my eyes feel it as they blur.
Buster, arrivederci. We who knew you will never forget you.