As I stepped up to the podium, I straightened the papers of my speech. It was long, but I knew people wouldn’t get bored, just as well as I knew how big of an honor this was. I began my speech, careful not to stumble over my words, “Ten months ago, a squadron of Marines was deployed onto the battlefield in Syria. They were there for one reason and one reason only: to keep the citizens safe. The Marines had been getting several reports of a major attack on the area in recent days, and finally, the attack had come.
“There were bombers shooting through the bright blue sky like bullets through the air. The squadron had to act quickly if they were going to get anyone out. As they ran through the buildings, gathering people and herding them into cargo planes, there was complete and utter chaos. However, this was where Marines excel.
“Soon, as the bombs began to come down, the squadron realized that. In addition to the bombs, the attackers were sending in soldiers of their own. The Marines fought very hard and many of them had made it to a helicopter that had come to retrieve them.
“All of a sudden, one of the Marines heard a crack that reverberated through the air.” I paused as I heard a sharp gasp from the audience. I looked up at them. They were enthralled. I began again, “The soldier turned around to see what the noise was, and saw his comrade on the ground, unable to move due to the red stain growing at his shoulder. The Marine hesitated, and heard the rest of his squadron screaming at him from the helicopter to leave him, there’s no hope for him. But this soldier knew that there was hope for everyone. He couldn’t just leave his friend behind. He sprinted back, and grabbed his friend under his arms. As he began dragging him back to the copter, a wave of gunfire hit, and the soldier ducked his head down. He kept going, moving as fast as his feet would let him under the weight of his compatriot.
“Just as he was getting back to the chopper, he felt a small shock of pain, and then it was like someone had poured water down his leg. He looked down to see the same color red slowly spreading on his pants, right at the calf, that was spreading on his fellow trooper’s shoulder. He began to fall, but he felt arms on his arms, pulling him up with all of their strength, and soon he was on the chopper, with the man whose life he just saved lying next to him.
“The soldier, who spent 5 months in and out of hospitals as his leg was treated and healed, is one of the most courageous people I have ever known. He always was. I am now pleased to present the Rosa Park Courage Award to my very own brother, John Markley.”
Thundering applause exploded from the crowd and I heard the snap of cameras, as my brother came up to the stage.