Speaker Neil Copeland, owner of Seven Lakes Kennels and professional dog trainer shown in a tribute to handler David Nielsen‘s War Dog, “Pepper“ who paid the ultimate price when deployed to Iraq with special operations SFC Nielsen. Neil‘s moving speech brought many to tears as he recited the following poem, “Guardians Of The Night.“
“Trust in me, my friend, for I am your comrade. I will protect you with my last breath.
When all others have left you, and the loneliness of the night closes in, I will be at your side.
My eyes are your eyes to watch you and to protect you.
My ears are your ears to hear and detect evil minds in the dark.
My nose is your nose to scent the invader of your domain.
And so you may live, my life is also yours.
Together we will conquer all obstacles, and search out those who might wish to harm others.
It is for you that I will unselfishly give my life, and fill my nights without rest.
Although our days together may be marked by the passing of the seasons,
Know that each day at your side is my reward.
My days are measured by the coming and going of your footsteps. .
I am your right arm, the sword at your side, your defender and protector.
I attempt to do what you bid of me. I seek only to please you and remain in your favor.
Together you and I shall experience a bond only others like us will understand
I will listen to you without question, nor will your spoken words ever be repeated.
I will remain ever silent, ever vigilant, always faithful and loyal.
When our time together is done, and you move on in the world,
Remember me with kind thoughts and tales of a time we were unbeatable.
If needed at another time and place,, I would gladly take up your fight.
I am a military working dog, and together we are guardians of the night.”
To those who courageously gave their lives, and those who bravely fight today, we say THANK YOU.
David views a plaque in “Pepper‘s“ honor that was
dedicated at the Wall Of Honor.