Thursday, November 7, 3 p.m.
UT Austin — DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, Denius Veterans Plaza
This is the speech President Fenves gave during the program for the 2019 Veterans Day Ceremony where three Medal of Honor recipients who attended UT were posthumously recognized:
I want to begin by thanking Lieutenant General Magruder … for his inspiring words and leadership today.
I also want to thank every person who helped make this Veterans Day ceremony possible — from the ROTC leaders and cadets who are here in attendance … to the band … to the speakers who delivered beautiful remembrances … this has been an unforgettable program. A fitting tribute to our heroes. Thank you.
And I want to thank Russell Steindam Matthews for joining us this afternoon … as we honor his father’s memory.
The University of Texas will be forever grateful for the sacrifice and bravery of Neel Earnest Kearby, John Cary Morgan, and Russell Albert Steindam. In combat, they made their names … by showing exceptional courage … courage that revealed not only a love of country … but an unbreakable bond with fellow soldiers … those brothers in arms whom they would fight for … and with … under the gravest circumstances.
And as I look on at these magnificent plaques, which will commemorate them on our campus … I am reminded of those bonds … and the words of the St. Crispin’s Day speech in Shakespeare’s “Henry V” …
In the play … it is the eve of the epic battle of Agincourt in Northern France … and the outnumbered English army is under threat from the vastly superior French army. King Henry speaks the following words to his men about honor and sacrifice …
“From this day to the ending of the world / But we in it shall be remember’d / We few, we happy few, we band of brothers / For he to-day that sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother.”
Neel Kearby, John Morgan and Russell Steindam fought in different battles. They performed their deeds of heroism in different places — New Guinea, Germany and Vietnam. But they will now — and always — be linked together … by the gallantry they showed in wars that altered the history of our nation … and the world. They were awarded the Medal of Honor … the highest decoration for valor in the U.S. armed forces. And in doing so, they realized the highest aspirations of our university and the highest ideals of our society.
The stories we heard about each of them today are simply extraordinary.
They are heroes … patriots … and as Medal of Honor recipients … part of a small group of Americans who served their country with unmatched bravery. And from this Veterans Day on, they will always be remembered at their home … on the Forty Acres.
Thank you all for joining us this afternoon.