Tree Dedication November 14, 2010
Remarks by Steven G. Popps,
W&M 2006, J.D. 2010,
in Remembrance of 1LT Todd William Weaver, Wren Building, Great Hall,
November 14, 2010
Good afternoon. I am honored to be here with the Weaver family, with my fellow speakers, and with all of you gathered today at our beloved W&M for this important dedication. Thank you for being here for my friend, and my classmate, and my hero, Todd Weaver.
We are all so very grateful to the College and its various components for organizing this event to include the tree planting, the bench, and the plaque in remembrance of Todd. Thank you to the many that have touched this event. I am so proud that W&M has and continues “to do the right thing” by honoring the memory of our Todd Weaver on this historic campus.
I am Steven Popps, a 2006 graduate of the College and a 2010 graduate of the law school. My proudest credential, however, is that I am Todd Weaver’s friend.
I will always speak of him in the present tense because he lives in my heart and in my mind. He is right in front of my psyche always. The ancient Greeks said it best, “A man is not dead until he is forgotten”. By today’s events and those events that preceded this one, Todd will never be forgotten. Todd is not dead to me; he is continuing his mission elsewhere.
Therefore, let us resolve today—at this dedication—to never forget Todd and never forget our nation’s volunteer military and the sacrifices they make for each and everyone of us and for our nation.
Thank you to the Weaver family, repeatedly, for the courage to again share their grief with us so publicly. It was an honor and privilege and sacred duty, for me and the members of my family, to be with you in September at the Williamsburg Community Chapel and, later in October at Arlington National Cemetery to pray for Todd—and to bury him—with the honor and the glory of a grateful nation—in a manner and place of which he is so supremely worthy.
Those happy moments that Todd and Emma and I shared just so very few months ago seem shattered for me right now. It hurts so much to know that I will not see my buddy again in our familiar haunts of the Green Leafe and Paul’s Deli, that he and I will not share a middle-of-the-night drive-thru at Dunkin’ Donuts or a good cigar and a long walk through Old Campus and the Sunken Gardens while we so boldly contemplating our futures.
The Redskin-Cowboy rivalries that we argued about so vigorously will have a much different meaning now, as will the Tailgating and Tribe football and Saturday mornings of hot dogs and hamburgers on my front yard, and of course, the memories of Todd and Emma’s beautiful wedding in the spring of 2008, just a short distance from here.
It was all so sweet, so innocent, and so young—it seemed like just a moment in time ago—then the harsh reality of war hit us like a freight train in the night.
A young man who lived on the floor above us when he was a student here said words to the effect that the tree of liberty is sometimes nurtured by the blood of patriots. That tree—we will symbolically dedicate today, that patriot is Todd Weaver, and that student was Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States.
In my darkest moments, I try to remember something my pastor, Father John, taught me: That the opposite of death is not life, the opposite of death is love.
Today, and everyday that follows, we will love Todd. Therefore for us, Todd is not dead. He is the best of the best and the flower of this great nation. He gave us the ultimate gift of love through his immense and breath-taking sacrifice for our country. He lived in life as he lives now, as my hero
Thank you, Todd. I know you are proud today that we are all here to commemorate your time with us. You are still one of my best pals.
May your soul reside in the Lord’s holy mansions. May your name be numbered among the Heroic and the Just. And may your memory be eternal.
Well done, Todd, well done. The mission continues. Farewell, old friend.Amen.