|Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Spence), the chairman of the Committee on Armed Services, and certainly our Democratic ranking member as well, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton), for providing this legislation now before the Members for consideration. |
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Joint Resolution 101, a resolution which recognizes the 225th birthday of the United States Army.
Mr. Speaker, from the establishment of the Continental Army in 1775, today's modern fighting force, considered to be the best land-based fighting force in the world, the Army has fought for our Nation through difficult times. In reviewing the history of our Nation's wars and other campaigns, one only begins to appreciate the enormous role the Army has played in our Nation's history.
As an Army veteran in Vietnam and as a former member of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Infantry Reserve Group in Hawaii, I have experienced a small part of the Army's history and know how difficult war can be.
While we hope future generations may never have to experience any world wars like those of the past, we can all feel assured that our Army is ready to go wherever and whenever it is called.
I want to share with my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, some of the things that happened in World War II, one of the darkest pages of our Nation's history, of what we did to the Japanese-Americans. But despite all the problems that these patriotic Americans were confronted with, we had thousands of Japanese-Americans who volunteered to fight for our Nation. In doing so, the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Infantry Groups were organized to fight the enemy in Europe.
I want to share with my colleagues some of the accomplishments these two fighting units made in World War II. Over 18,000 decorations were awarded to individuals in these two units for bravery in combat; over 9,240 Purple Hearts; 560 Silver Stars; 52 Distinguished Service Crosses; and, one of the things, that I have complained about for all these years, why only one Medal of Honor?
I think this matter has been rectified, and I want to commend the gentleman from Hawaii, Senator Akaka, whose legislation in 1996 mandated the Congress to review this. I think my colleagues are very happy, as well as myself, in seeing this month we are going to witness 19 Congressional Medals of Honor will be awarded in a special ceremony that will be made next week, and among them the distinguished Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, who originally had the Distinguished Service Cross, and now he will also be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Mr. Speaker, I want to pay tribute to today's soldiers and all those who have gone before them. In addition, too, Mr. Speaker, I want to pay a very special tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Army wives and their children. I think this is perhaps one area that is sorely missing sometimes.
Yes, we do praise our soldiers in harm's way, but also we have to recognize the tremendous sacrifices that wives and their dependents have to make, where the women have to become both the fathers and mothers in the absence of the fathers being away. I think this is something that our country certainly owes to all the Army wives, for the tremendous services and sacrifices they have rendered on behalf of our Nation.
Our soldiers have never let us down, and when we call upon them, they are there to serve. I think my good friends have already made a comment on this, but I want to share it again because I think it is important. This is a special address that was given by the late General Douglas MacArthur to the West Point cadets at the Academy at West Point in 1962. It has been quoted, and I will quote it again.
``What is the mission of the Army? Yours is the profession of arms, the will to win, the sure knowledge that in war there is no substitute for victory, and, that if we fail, the Nation will be destroyed.''
Mr. Speaker, I want to say happy birthday, Army, and with exclamation to all the Army soldiers and veterans, I say ``Huuah.''