Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Madam Speaker, it's been solemnly said that "the story of America's quest for freedom is inscribed on her history in the blood of her patriots." Those comments were made by Randy Vader.

America was born of war and has always had to fight to keep liberty's light shining very bright.

Monday is Memorial Day. We honor those of the military family who went somewhere in the world, fighting for America's ideals and protecting the rest of us, but did not return home. Their blood has stained and sanctified the lands of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific Islands, the soil of America and places known only by God.

One of those warriors was Frank Luke. Madam Speaker, you may have never heard of him, but he is just one of the 4.4 million doughboys that went over there in World War I. He's an example of the young, tenacious American warrior.

This is a photograph of him taken shortly before his death in 1918. In World War I, in September of 1918, in just 9 days of combat flying, 10 missions, and only 30 hours of flight time, Second Lieutenant Frank Luke shot down 18 enemy aircraft. Let me repeat. Eighteen enemy aircraft.

On his last patrol, though pursued by eight German planes, without hesitation he attacked and shot down in flames three German aircraft, being himself under heavy fire from ground batteries and hostile planes. Severely wounded, he descended within 50 meters of the ground and, flying at this low altitude in France, opened fire on enemy troops, killing six and wounding many more. Forced to make a landing, and surrounded on all sides by the enemy, he drew his automatic pistol, defended himself gallantly until he fell dead with a wound in the chest.

Frank Luke was 20 years of age. He had been in Europe less than 30 days. He won the Congressional Medal of Honor, and he was the first aviator in United States history to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. He was one of the 116,000 doughboys who died in the War to End All Wars that did not return home.

Author Blaine Pardoe referred to him as the ``terror of the autumn skies.''

That was 90 years ago. It has always been the young that give their youth so we can have a future. And we should always remember every one of them, every one that died in all of America's wars.

Now we are engaged in a war in the valley of the sun and the deserts of the gun, in Iraq, and the rugged, cruel, rough mountains of Afghanistan.

My congressional district area of southeast Texas has lost 26 warriors since I have been in Congress. Here they are, Madam Speaker. You notice they represent a cross section of the United States. They are all races. They're of both sexes. They are of all ages, and they're from all branches of the service. They're from big cities like Houston, Texas, and small towns like Hull, Sabine Pass, Beach City, Humble, Groves; yet, they're all American warriors who gave their lives in combat for the United States.

I will place the names and backgrounds of these 26 from the Second Congressional District of Texas who have been killed in Iraq into the Congressional Record.

Rollcall of the Dead

Russell Slay, a Staff Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, from Humble, TX. Russell played the guitar and he and his buddies started a