We often hear elected officials attempt to galvanize the American people by delivering messages of "hope" and "change," that critics on both sides of the aisle in turn disparage as simple campaign rhetoric that will inevitably fade away or go unaccounted for.
After making the ultimate sacrifice, Sgt. William Stacey's words will not only provide some comfort to his family, but undoubtably live on as an inspiration to men and women who fight for the freedoms he held most dear and was willing to defend at all costs.
“My death did not change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all,” Sgt. Stacey wrote in a letter he left to be sent to his parents if killed in the line of duty. “But there is greater meaning to it.”
Sgt. Stacey tragically died on January 31. He joined the Marines in January 2007 and had completed a total of five deployments. Sgt. Stacey was set to return home to Washington state after his final deployment in Afghanistan this spring.
KOMO reports that Sgt. Stacey was killed when an enemy bomb went off while the 23-year-old was on foot patrol in Afghanistan Tuesday.
“None of us who love him know how to measure the vastness of this pain,” his mother, Robin, said in an email to ABC News. “He is but one of a number of men and women who have risked and sometimes lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq, just as we are but one of thousands of families whose hearts are breaking today.”
Sgt. Stacey was the son of two teachers, who released their son's letter with the 23-year-old's obituary in his hometown Seattle Times. Sgt. Stacey's stirring "in case of death" letter was found by his family Thursday, it reads:
"My death did not change the world; it may be tough for you to justify its meaning at all. But there is a greater meaning to it. Perhaps I did not change the world. Perhaps there is still injustice in the world. But there will be a child who will live because men left the security they enjoyed in their home country to come to his. And this child will learn in the new schools that have been built. He will walk his streets not worried about whether or not his leader's henchmen are going to come and kidnap him. He will grow into a fine man who will pursue every opportunity his heart could desire. He will have the gift of freedom, which I have enjoyed for so long. If my life buys the safety of a child who will one day change this world, then I know that it was all worth it.
Semper Fidelis means always faithful. Always faithful to God, Country and Corps. Always faithful to the principles and beliefs that guided me into the service. And on that day in October when I placed my hand on a bible and swore to defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, I meant it."
ABC reports on a man whose time on this earth was too short, but will live on through his words for years to come: