July 4th is a day that will always elicit strong emotions of respect, gratitude, and pride. It will always be remembered as the day that we stood up and said “Enough!”
The freedoms we enjoy in this land aren’t free. They were hard-fought and won through the blood of true patriots. When faced with the prospect of an occupying force, America chose to fight. We chose the path of righteousness and self-respect. We chose the path of freedom.
Many years have passed since that fateful day, but who can forget it. The rockets red glare. The bombs bursting in air. And the terror we all felt as the enemy ships approached our major cities.
At first we all believed that a diplomatic solution could be found. We reached out with an olive branch and found it trampled under our enemy’s feet as they progressed forward, stealing from us what was never rightfully theirs. This land was our land–we settled here, made this place our own, and built an honest society based on family values and mutual respect.
On this day, we remember the heroes of the war. Captain Stephen Hiller whose courage and quick thinking literally saved the human race. David Levinson, a mild mannered cable-company tech consultant whose expertise allowed us to beat our enemies at their own game. And let us never forget the heroics of President Whitmore, who not only oversaw the coordination of the worldwide global counterattack against the alien race, but also had the fortitude and dedication to man a fighter jet and defend this country he loved so much…only hours after the tragic death of his beloved wife, Marilyn.
They’re heroes, and they’re patriots. The history books will be filled with their exploits, their doubts, their fears, and their triumphs.
Today, though, I’d like to draw your attention to a lesser known hero. His sacrifice, while well documented, has been lost to the masses among the tales of countless others around the world. His story is familiar, and his bravery unmatched.
Russell Casse was born in Reno, Nevada in 1950. The son of Caleb and Henrietta, Russell was named after his Grandfather, Russell T. Casse, whose deeds in the First World War are well known. Caleb, unfortunately, was a gambler and a drinker, a trait that Russell would inherate.
After dropping out of high school, Russell left his abusive family and lived a nomadic lifestyle, wandering from city to city. It wasn’t until the Vietnam conflict that Casse joined the US Military, finding his true calling as a fighter pilot.
After the war, Russell met Sandra Temple and the two had three children. She died of breast cancer in 1989.
After this, Russell began drinking heavily and took up crop dusting to make ends meet for his broken family. It was also around this time that Russell found himself one of the first victims of the intergalactic aggressors as they abducted and studied the war hero in order to gain a tactical advantage for their impending invasion.
For a man who had lost so much and endured such tragedy, the First Intergalactic War of 1996 came as no shock. Fleeing the mile-wide space ships that cast clouds of doom over our cities, Russell found his way to the Area 51 Army base…the base, we now know, where President Whitmore coordinated the wildly successful human counter-attack.
With his flight experience, Russell saw it as his duty to step up once again to defend his country. He fought bravely in the Battle of Area 51, and when all others had exhausted their supply of missiles, it was Russell Casse who had the foresight to spare his ammo. It was Russell Casse whose combat training gave us the opportunity to render one of their destroyers inoperable, thereby saving thousands, if not millions, of lives.
Fate intervened, and the missile failed to launch. Instead of backing down and cowering in defeat, Casse stepped up.
“Tell my children…I love them very much.”
Those were Russell Casse’s last recorded words before he severed communication with control and flew his plane, missile armed, directly into the main weapon of the alien destroyer. He gave his life for race, country, and family.
Russell Casse’s sacrifice echoes the sacrifice of those countless thousands around the globe who saved our freedoms…our dignity…our very lives.
Today, let us remember Russell Casse and those like him. Let us remember the great fireballs of death that engulfed New York, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C. before turning their sites on the annihilation of the human race. Let us remember the mistakes we made, the prejudices we were forced to overcome, and the strength of our human resolve.
And let us remember the words of our President…words captured only through the microphone of a handheld tape recorder because there was no media to report. It’s been thirteen years, but his words still bring tears to the eyes of every freedom-loving American. The battle has been fought and won. We will remain forever vigilant, staring at the skies and preparing ourselves for the next time we must defend our planet from tentacled monsters. We will be ready, and we will be victorious.
“In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind. “Mankind.” That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it’s fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom… Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution… but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist. And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: “We will not go quietly into the night!” We will not vanish without a fight! We’re going to live on! We’re going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day!”
-President Thomas Whitmore, July 4, 1996
Russell Casse, 1950-1996