In every generation, a few special people step forward and do great things.  America lost one of those people today.  Andrew Breitbart was one of my biggest influences in politics and the person I looked up to most.  I got a chance to meet him at CPAC 2012 just a few short weeks ago, and it feels like more of an honor now then it did then.

Breitbart always inspired me with his tenacity and fearlessness.  When no one else was willing to speak out because of the possibility for bad PR, Andrew spoke truth anyway.  He was truly a great American and will be missed by conservatives all over the country.

Breitbart took time to talk to anyone no matter what insults they hurled at him or how stupid their accusations or arguments were.  Breitbart also had a heart for the youth of the conservative movement. He recognized that the upcoming generation is the future, and I hope he knew his impact on many of us.

Andrew Breitbart was the reason I decided to write and speak out against what I knew was fundamentally wrong.  I used to be afraid of what people would say or think about me before I saw Breitbart on the news, giving speeches and speaking out against the Left with no shame. Andrew Breitbart always fought on the side of personal liberty and the ideas conservatives hold so sacred. That is where I want to be– in the trenches fighting for the America we remember.

With Andrew’s passing we are all faced with a question.  Who will take up his cause?  Although no one will be able to fill his shoes, are we willing to continue his journey?  Andrew Breitbart would not want the fight to end with him; he is waiting to see who picks up the torch.

I am proud to say that I am picking up the torch, as are all of my close friends and colleagues.  Now is the time to remember Andrew Breitbart as a hero, patriot, and a great American.  We remember him not only through prayers and photos but also through his message and his mission.  His message was simple; the truth will be the unraveling of the Left and their partner in crime, the mainstream media.  His mission was simpler still; stand up to those who seek to bully you out of your opinion.

Rush Limbaugh spoke about Andrew on his show today, and one point mentioned repeatedly was that life is precious and you only get one.  Andrew Breitbart lived his life to the fullest and spent it doing what he loved.  I will keep the memory of Andrew Breitbart alive by never shying away from a debate and never shrinking away from the truth because of the feedback I will receive.

So today we say goodbye to a true conservative leader and a role model for the next generation of conservatives.  Andrew Breitbart, you are gone but not forgotten; may you live on in every victory we earn on the road that you helped to build.  We will wage the war in your absence.

Mark Mayberry :: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga :: Chattanooga, Tennessee :: @MarkMayberry85