TRIBUTE TO LOUISIANA WWII VETERANS -- (Senate - May 07, 2008)
Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I am proud to honor a group of 97 World War II veterans from Louisiana who are traveling to Washington, DC, this weekend to visit the various memorials and monuments that recognize the sacrifices of our Nation's invaluable servicemembers.
Louisiana HonorAir, a group based in Lafayette, LA, is sponsoring this Saturday's trip to the Nation's Capital. The organization is honoring each surviving World War II Louisiana veteran by giving them an opportunity to see the memorials dedicated to their service. On this trip, the veterans will visit the World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iwo Jima memorials. They will also travel to Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns.
This is the ninth flight Louisiana HonorAir will make to Washington, DC.
World War II was one of America's greatest triumphs, but was also a conflict rife with individual sacrifice and tragedy. More than 60 million people worldwide were killed, including 40 million civilians, and more than 400,000 American service members were slain during the long war. The ultimate victory over enemies in the Pacific and in Europe is a testament to the valor of American soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. The years 1941 to 1945 also witnessed an unprecedented mobilization of domestic industry, which supplied our military on two distant fronts.
In Louisiana, there remain today more than 40,000 living WWII veterans, and each one has a heroic tale of achieving the noble victory of freedom over tyranny. The oldest in this Honor-Air group was born in 1913. They began their service as early as 1938, before the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and some members of this group served as late as 1979. They served in various branches of the military--34 members in the Army; 14 in the Army Air Corps; 37 in the Navy; 8 in the Marines; 1 in the USO; and 3 in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Our heroes served across the globe, participating in major invasions such as those at Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Leyte, the Phillippines, and southern France. One was a prisoner of war in Italy, another served under General Patton, and one flew 35 bombing missions over Europe.
Many of these veterans earned Purple Hearts, Bronze Star Medals, Air Medals and Navy Crosses.
I ask the Senate to join me in honoring these 97 veterans, all Louisiana heroes, that we welcome to Washington this weekend and Louisiana HonorAir for making these trips a reality.