(FAIRBANKS, Alaska) Sarah Palin may have been introduced as the Governor of Alaska, but in her six-minute remarks to the soldiers of the 1st Stryker Brigade Team, she often sounded more like the proud but nervous mom of a soldier than the chief executive of a state.
"As you depart today, don't mind us your parents, your friends, your family if we allow for a few tears or if we hold you just a little closer once more before you are gone because we are going to miss you," she said. "We can't help it—we are going to miss you."
Palin's 19-year-old son Track is one of the brigade's 4,000 soldiers who are deploying to Iraq within the next few weeks.
"We'll pray for you as we pray now that the lord will bless you and keep you—keep his hand of protection on you and bring you safely home," Palin said. "Serve with honor, soldiers."
Palin thanked the American servicemen who have already fought in Iraq and noted their achievement in bringing down violence in that country. On the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Palin tied the events of that day into the mission that the soldiers will carry out in Iraq.
"You'll be there to defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans," she said. "You'll be there because America can never go back to that false sense of security that came before Sept. 11, 2001."
According to Major Chris Hyde, a public affairs officer with the brigade, Track Palin is a "very-low key" soldier.
"He doesn't want to be known as just the governor's son," Hyde said. "He wants to be known as PFC Palin."
Three of Palin's other children—Bristol, Willow, and Piper—were also on hand at the ceremony.