Before 1st Lt. Travis Manion left for his second and final deployment, he said to his family, “If not me, then who?”
He was then killed in Iraq in April 2007 while saving his wounded teammates. Shortly after, his family founded the Travis Manion Foundation inspired by those five words.
Now 10 years later, his mantra continues to guide the foundation, which empowers veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations.
“We took those five words and we’ve really tried to build a national movement around them,” Ryan Manion, Travis’ sister and president of the Travis Manion Foundation told Yahoo News and Finance Anchor Bianna Golodryga.
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld feels a connection to the Travis Manion Foundation, having served in the military himself. He’s decided to donate $500,000, money made through his mobile application, Churchill Solitaire.
“Fewer people are connected to the military and what their foundation is doing is finding ways by taking people, veterans and their families and connecting them throughout the country with young people who don’t have any particular link to the military,” Rumsfeld said.
Growing up in a military family, both Ryan and Travis knew very young in life what it meant to give your life to service.
“It wasn’t until Travis lost his life in the Anbar province that we began to understand what it means to sacrifice,” Ryan said.
Rumsfeld and the Manion family are celebrating this Memorial Day by shedding a light on our nation’s heroes.
“A lot of what we talk about doing is redefining America’s national character,” Ryan said. “We can think of no better way than highlighting our men and women who serve as these incredible examples of what living a life of character is all about.”