My 18 year old brother Braedyn Shaw Boronda graduated from Marine Corps boot camp and before his family, God and country; he became a Marine, Bravo Company Platoon 1031. The pride I felt for him as he stood there at attention before us was overwhelming and I had to fight the urge to run out there and hug him.  He was born when I was 20 and for so long, he was my whole world and we were incredibly close.  He has always been an amazing kid, but now standing before me was a different being the Marines had molded.  He’s still the same guy, a good heart, a smart alec who has an amazing sense of humor, incredibly intelligent with an amazing talent for baseball and crazy sports nut. But the way he carries himself is somehow humble and bursting with pride at the same time.  He’s softer and quieter, but bold and strong.  He’s a Marine.

Being a part of the graduating ceremony, cheering not only for my brother, but the 475 other men who graduated today was an amazing experience in which I will never forget.  All of these men standing before me, they chose to defend to defend our God-given rights and this Christian born nation that they love.  They pledged to fight against enemies both foreign and domestic and promised to do so with honor, courage and committment. 

I find that in many ways, we as agriculturists are much like the men and women bravely serving in our military.  God commanded us to be caretakers and have dominion over the animals and earth.  We tirelessly fight to keep that right to protect and take care of the land and animals the way we know they need to be taken care of.  We defend ourselves against predators, both foreign (legislators, HSUS, etc.) and domestic (prairie dogs, coyotes, etc.).  We serve with honor in doing what we love, providing food, fiber and fuel, providing a gross domestic product that serves the whole world. And we promise to do so with honor, courage and committment.

To those of you who have fought in the military, here and abroad, currently serving or serve, we salute and honor you.   For the families who have also made the sacrifice of having a loved one serve, we honor and thank you for your support.  And the families who made that ultimate sacrifice of losing their loved one, our hearts and prayers are with you and we humbly thank you for your sacrifice.  We deeply appreciate all of you who choose to serve your country and answered the call to defend our God given freedoms. 

To my fellow agriculturists, I salute you, my family salutes you.  Thank you for fighting without ceasing.  Thank you for serving our industry with pride and honor each and every day.  It is an honor and a privilege to serve with you.

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