Today is the 75th anniversary of D-Day – a date and battle that represents the best and most courageous in this imperfect but great country of ours. It is relevant and important to all RENS players, coaches, and families because if not for the sacrifices of thousands of 17 & 18 year old boys (that's right the same age of many of our players), you would not be able to enjoy the game of basketball, your freedoms, schools, friends, teammates, and families. Had those sacrifices by young men not occurred, you would be living under the cruelest dictatorship in history, and God knows, probably dead because you didn't fit the ideal version of the white, blued-eyed Nazi created by madmen.
As the world at first stood still on June 6th, 1944, thousands upon thousands upon thousands of kids, your age, who enlisted in the Army and Marines to save this country, parachuted to the miles long beach at Normandyin the south of France to begin the final push to win the War.
It was essentially a suicide mission because the Germans were waiting for them – they killed thousands of boys your age. I am named after one of them, Daniel Nathan Klores, my father's oldest and only brother. He landed, survived, and fought until he was killed six months later at the Battle of the Bulgein Belgium.
My mother's brother, Aaron was also killed there. My full name, I am proud to say is Daniel Aaron Klores.
My father, at 17, dropped out of Lincoln high school to enlist in the Navy where he fought on the islands of Iwo Jima and Okinawa in 1945.
We won this War, thank God.
The sacrifices of these boys and men, their teamwork, their need to defend and share with one another, are in a way the EXACT same principles of a Championship TEAM.
I hope some of you understand this: In order to win a championship, every team member, every paratrooper, machine gun shooter, infantryman, medic, officer, scout, understood what they themselves do well, what their brothers do well, what they themselves do not do so well, and they had one another's back under circumstances a lot more serious than winning (basketball) games.
They couldn't afford to waste motion, to think of themselves first, to be moody or immature.
YOU, we, I, your parents, brothers, sisters, and coaches are here because 75 years ago, a TEAM of 17-19 year old boys understood how to fight and how to sacrifice and never, ever give up.
They knew what it took to WIN, and so must we.
Don't forget history, and never take for granted, no matter how imperfect this nation is – America. It is far and away the greatest country civilization has ever known.