Last night, President Bush paid tribute to Staff Sergeant Dan Clay, who died in Iraq last month. The President read portions of a letter Dan wrote to his family. But his full letter gives a powerful Christian testimony — my friend Stacy Harp at Writing Right has posted that letter:
MOM, DAD, KRISTIE, JODIE, KIMBERLY, ROBERT, KATY, RICHARD, AND MY LISA: Boy do I love each and every one of you. This letter being read means that I have been deemed worthy of being with Christ. With MaMa Jo, MaMa Clay, Jennifer … all those we have been without for our time during the race. This is not a bad thing. It is what we hope for. The secret is out. He lives and His promises are real! It is not faith that supports this … But fact and I now am a part of the promise. Here is notice! Wake up! All that we hope for is Real. Not a hope. But Real.
But here is something tangible. What we have done in Iraq is worth any sacrifice. Why? Because it was our duty. That sounds simple. But all of us have a duty. Duty is defined as a God given task. Without duty life is worthless. It holds no type of fulfillment. The simple fact that our bodies are built for work has to lead us to the conclusion that God (who made us) put us together to do His work. His work is different for each of us. Mom, yours was to be the glue of our family, to be a pillar for those women (all women around you), Dad, yours was to train and build us (like a Platoon Sgt.) to better serve Him. Kristie, Kim, Katy you are the five team leaders who support your Squad ldrs, Jodie, Robert and Richard. Lisa you too. You are my XO and you did a hell of a job. You all have your duties. Be thankful that God in His wisdom gives us work. Mine was to ensure that you did not have to experience what it takes to protect what we have as a family. This I am so thankful for. I know what honor is. It is not a word to be thrown around. It has been an Honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to. This is as close to Christ-like I can be. That emulation is where all honor lies. I thank you for making it worthwhile.
As a Marine this is not the last Chapter. I have the privilege of being one who has finished the race. I have been in the company of heroes. I now am counted among them. Never falter! Don’t hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.
Now here are my final wishes. Do not cry! To do so is to not realize what we have placed all our hope and faith in. We should not fear. We should not be sad. Be thankful. Be so thankful. All we hoped for is true. Celebrate! My race is over, my time in war zone is over. My trials are done. A short time separates all of us from His reality. So laugh. Enjoy the moments and your duty. God is wonderful.
I love each and every one of you.
Spread the word ….. Christ lives and He is Real.
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God bless the Clay family. How humbling — we all live more safely today because of their sacrifice of their son. May we make grateful and good use of that gift.