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  • Honoring Our Armed Forces

    by Senator Tom Udall

    Posted on 2013-01-04

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    UDALL of New Mexico. Mr. President, just a few weeks ago Americans gathered all across the Nation to commemorate Veterans Day. It is a day that we set aside to remember, and express our gratitude to, the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. It is a day to honor the heroes among us, and those who, sadly, have left us.

    Today I wish to pay tribute to an American hero, Army SGT Clinton K. Ruiz. Sergeant Ruiz died on October 25 while on patrol in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan, from injuries sustained from small arms fire. He was just 22 years old. He leaves behind a wife, Kira, and a baby son, Caleb.

    As we face the tragedy of this brave young soldier's death, it is important too that we remember his life. Sergeant Ruiz's journey on this Earth ended far too soon, but his memory among those whose lives he touched, and in a nation's gratitude, will endure.

    Clinton Ruiz was born on March 14, 1990. He graduated from Murrieta Valley High School in Murrieta, CA, and enlisted with the Army in 2009. He was assigned to A Company, 9th Military Information Support Battalion, 8th Military Information Support Group. Sergeant Ruiz was deployed to Afghanistan in September.

    In the decade that our military has been fighting in Afghanistan, thousands of our fellow citizens have volunteered to serve. These courageous men and women risk their own safety to protect the safety of others. They leave their homes and their loved ones to defend the freedoms that we hold dear. Over 2,000 of these heroes have paid the ultimate price, for our freedoms, in Afghanistan.

    Words cannot lessen the sorrow of the loved ones who grieve for Sergeant Ruiz now. Words cannot fully express the gratitude our Nation owes this valiant soldier. We can only remember, indeed we must never forget, the sacrifice that SGT Clinton Ruiz made in service to our country.

    President Kennedy said that ``stories of past courage . . . can teach, they can offer hope, they can provide inspiration. But, they cannot supply courage itself. For this, each man must look into his own soul.'' Sergeant Clinton Ruiz had such courage. In the face of great danger, at great risk to himself, he went where his country sent him. He was awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. He kept the promise he had made to serve. Our Nation is forever in his debt.

    Sergeant Ruiz loved his family. He loved his country. He made the ultimate sacrifice defending it. To Sergeant Ruiz's family, I offer my deepest sympathies. We honor Sergeant Ruiz's courage. We remember his sacrifice. And we mourn your loss.


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