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Garland B.
Republican KY 6

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  • Honoring the 42Nd Anniversary of the Release of American Pows from Vietnam

    by Representative Andy Barr

    Posted on 2015-02-12

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    BARR. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Dold), my friend, for his leadership on this issue and for leading this special hour. I also want to thank my friend from Texas for honoring our colleague Sam Johnson, a true American hero who, through his service and sacrifice, his time in the Hanoi Hilton, his time as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, really showcased what it means to be a great patriot and an American hero willing to sacrifice for his fellow countrymen and for the freedom that we all enjoy.

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the people of central and eastern Kentucky, I, too, rise today to recognize the 42nd anniversary of the release of American prisoners of war from Vietnam. I would like to honor the brave men and women who courageously wore our Nation's cloth and made great sacrifices in the name of freedom.

    As I walk into my congressional office, I am reminded every day of all the American servicemembers that never returned home from past wars by the POW flag that I proudly display outside of my office.

    Since the beginning of the Revolutionary War, Kentuckians have continued to answer our Nation's call to service. In fact, over 125,000 Kentuckians courageously and unselfishly served during the Vietnam era, and the people of Kentucky honor those who fought and died in Vietnam by commissioning the Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which overlooks Kentucky's beautiful State capitol building in Frankfort. I would also like to recognize the organizations that keep the memories of those who have sacrificed much for our country alive, organizations such as Task Force Omega of Kentucky, Rolling Thunder, and the Kentucky Patriot Guard, who constantly remind us to never forget the servicemembers who have perished and have not yet returned home from Vietnam and other wars fought on foreign soil.

    While being held captive, American POWs found strength in each other, and as Congressman Dold and Congressman Olson pointed out, those taps were the way that those men in that prison kept each other's spirits alive. Through their struggle, they found resilience; through their faith, they found comfort; and through their patriotism, they found hope. We are so grateful to have these servicemembers home. As we know all too well from recent events in the Middle East, not all prisoners of war make it back to their family members alive, but we owe all of them a debt of gratitude.

    Unlike the veterans of World War II, Iraq, the Persian Gulf war or Afghanistan, those who served in Vietnam had a very different and unfortunate experience, many of them, when they returned home. Some were advised to change into civilian clothes and avoid contact with protestors, and it really hurt. They didn't deserve it. They deserve better. So for all of those veterans of the Vietnam war, including those who were POWs, we welcome them home because they deserve our respect, and they deserve to be welcomed home to a grateful nation.

    American servicemembers found hope in the fact that a grateful nation would not leave them behind and would do everything possible to bring them home. We, as Americans, still stand behind that promise today.

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois for the opportunity to honor the 42nd anniversary of the release of American POWs from Vietnam.

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