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BG Leslie Purser Speech

Reception Gathering at Arlington National Cemetery



October 14, 2010


“Emma, Kiley, Mr/Mrs Weaver, Mr/Mrs Cloyed, friends and family, it’s truly my honor and privilege to speak to you today at this most solemn ceremony remembering the life of your husband, father, son, son-in-law, brother, friend, peer and mentor.  And how fitting to select Arlington as his final resting place where burial eternally and ceremoniously unites 1LT Todd Weaver with hundreds of thousands of his compatriots....where we memorialize all valiant heroes who died in service to our nation.


A willingness to make the ultimate patriotic sacrifice by putting on this uniform ennobles the lives of all military men and women.  But that willingness doesn’t make them all heroes.  Simply joining the armed services or serving in combat doesn’t make you a hero, neither does a pristine uniform or dented body armor.  Retired officer and Pennsylvania history professor William Astore wrote, “heroes are rare, and that’s the reason we celebrate them.  They’re the best of us, which means they can’t be all of us.”


We all thought of Todd as a hero before he ever went to Afghanistan.  He was a passionate and caring leader who possessed a superior intellect of Army tactics and strategy for his young age.  He demonstrated incredible strengths in leadership, fellowship and dedication that all whom he came in contact with admired.


Not many people will make a choice to put others first the way that 1LT Weaver did.  Bound by a sense of duty and a willingness to fight for timeless ideals, he was a silent hero; not looking for recognition or appreciation, but just wanting to do his job well, and take care of his troops.


He was the kind of Soldier others aspire to be, and this selflessness came naturally to him.  His life speaks to the strength and dignity of all who honorably serve.  And it’s that word....honor....that best describes the service of 1LT Weaver.


When you put on the uniform, you hear the word “honor” a lot.  Honor for your country, honor for your position, honor to the military and honorable sacrifice.  It’s a word that motivates the brave, the selfless, and the dedicated to proudly accept the responsibility of serving.


Today we gather to pay final tribute to that brave, selfless and dedicated hero, 1LT Todd Weaver, who was inspired by honor.


He knew that honor isn’t about making the right choices; it’s about how you deal with the consequences of those choices.  His heart led him to take the path of military service because he believed in that cause, and was willing to suffer the consequences.  He never hesitated to take the hard right over the easy wrong.  He was the type of person who once you met, would never forget, because of the positive impact and inspiration he left on people.  I don’t remember very many of my kids’ friends; but this one, I never forgot.  The day he died my daughter called me from Iraq, and I knew instantly who he was.  I immediately remembered how impressed I was the first time I met him, and what a bright future I thought he would have.


No matter how many put him in demi-god status, and no matter how honorable Todd’s service, this loss is bitter.  But we must remember that he lived to the very end doing what he absolutely loved---serving others.  He was the ultimate patriot, and dedicated Soldier.


And although he may not be here with us in a physical sense, he will forever remain in our hearts and minds.  We should not only think of his passing, but remember the glory of his spirit.  Time will not erase Todd’s love for his country and fellow Soldiers, his willingness to serve, nor his desire to make a difference in this world.


We will always honor his memory and continue to fight for the cause he adamantly believed in.  We will continue to fight for the freedom of this country with the same dedication, passion and nobility that this hero displayed time and time again.


Thank you again to his family, who shared this incredible man with us.  We thank God that he strengthened our formations and graced our ranks with the presence of 1LT Todd William Weaver.  As tears of sorrow fall from the sky today, so too does the Army, and our nation weep at this loss.  Todd’s sacrifice, his contribution to this country, and the memory of all that he was will forever be honored.”

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