Murphy Speech at Ceremony Designating Sanford Army Reserve Center After Medal of Honor Recipient Alwyn Cashe
I’m honored to be here with all of you to celebrate the life and legacy of Alwyn Cashe.
I’m proud to represent the city of Sanford, where Alwyn was born and where he was laid to rest.
I’m also proud to represent the nearby city of Oviedo. That’s where Alwyn—the baby of the Cashe family—was raised, loved, and maybe even a little spoiled by his parents and by his older brothers and sisters. Several years ago, Congress passed my bill to name the post office in Oviedo after Alwyn Cashe.
President Kennedy once said that a nation is defined, not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors and remembers.
I’m moved by the fact that this Army Reserve Center in Sanford and that post office in Oviedo are named after Alwyn Cashe.
It speaks well of us as a nation. In a society where the word “hero” is sometimes used a bit too freely, it shows we still recognize what a real hero looks like.
It looks like a man running through fire, again and again, despite unthinkable pain, to save his men from their burning vehicle, in a desolate Iraqi desert, thousands of miles from his Florida boyhood home.
It looks like a man refusing to be medevacked from the battlefield, or treated by doctors at the military hospital, until he was certain his fellow soldiers were taken care of first.
It looks like a man laying down his life to save the lives of his brothers.
I want to thank General Shawley, Command Sergeant Major Fenderson, and the entire Army family—and you truly are a family—for organizing this dedication ceremony and for honoring this hero. I know how much it means to Alwyn’s family and to our community.
Speaking of Alwyn’s family, my admiration for them is profound. I’d like to say a special word about Alwyn’s sister Kasinal. We’ve been through a lot together and I’m proud to call her my friend.
I cannot imagine the sadness that Kasinal and her siblings felt when they lost their baby brother—who had grown up to become this exceptional man, this extraordinary soldier.
But Kasinal channeled that pain into something positive and, indeed, into something beautiful. For over a decade, she led the effort to make sure Alwyn was properly recognized for his combat valor.
Many people, myself included, joined this effort—and I like to think I made a difference.
But she was the commanding general of this army. She was driven by love, by the fierce desire to right a wrong, and by her singular devotion to her brother’s memory.
There was no quit in Alwyn Cashe. And there’s no quit in Kasinal either.
In December, all the hard work paid off, when the President posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Alwyn Cashe. I was privileged to join Kasinal and other members of the Cashe family at the White House ceremony.
Of all my memories from my time in Congress, which is drawing to a close, this is one of the most meaningful. I’ll never forget it. It was the culmination of a remarkable journey.
But this journey is not over. We should never stop telling Alwyn’s story. We should never stop honoring his sacrifice. The way he lived, and the way he died, are an inspiration—for soldiers and civilians alike.
Thank you for telling this story. Thank you for honoring this soldier.
God bless this country, the United States Army, and the Cashe family.