Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

 

Memorial Day 2007

Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02)

Memorial Day is the chance for the American people to pay tribute to those, past and present, who paid the ultimate price for our continued freedom. The issues surrounding the War on Terror remain in the headlines and the debate over where we go from here still rages on. The one thing that we can all agree on is - the young men and women that wear the uniform of the United States military are finest in the world.

Memorial Day from its beginning was far from political. It was first observed on a large scale three years after the end of the War between the States in 1868, known then as Decoration Day. It was a day to decorate the graves of more than 600,000 men who died in that conflict with flowers and American flags. By 1971, Congress declared the last Monday in May as Memorial Day; a national holiday to honor those who died in all American wars.

In our nations capitol there are monuments to the American Warriors of our history. There is a massive cemetery on the shores of Normandy, France where more than 9000 young D-Day soldiers are buried from one of our history's fiercest and most costly victories. All these tributes are memorials to our troops that have always answered the call to take care of the rest of us. Many of the fallen gave up their youth so we could have a free future.

Today our country is faced with a new enemy and fighting a new kind of war and our young men and women are still answering the call. Regardless of your position on the war, our troops need the continued and full support of the American people and Congress. We must not send our military into battle without giving them every tool they need to succeed, win the war and come home safely as soon as possible.

To date, 18 brave soldiers from Texas 2nd Congressional District have been killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. My staff and I honor the memory of each brave soldier every single day. We have put each of their photos on a Wall of Honor in all of my offices. Their photos serve as a constant reminder of their sacrifices for each of us.

For the 139th year, on the last Monday of this month, Americans across our country will celebrate Memorial Day and remember and honor those that gave their lives for us. We are able to go about our business each day in our country as nearly as normal as before the events of 9/11, only because there are thousands of brave Americans a world away fighting a war to ensure our security and freedom. This year, let us not only remember those that have fallen, let us also remember those who fought in previous wars and those that are still fighting. I pray that God will bless each and every one of them and I ask that you pray for their safe and swift return.