CHANGING OUR ENERGY POLICY -- (House of Representatives - May 19, 2009)
Mr. DONNELLY. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'd like to thank my two colleagues, Mr. Klein from Florida and Mr. Yarmuth from Kentucky, for their insightful ideas and words.
Mr. Speaker, as we near Memorial Day, I rise today to offer some words in commemoration of those who gave their lives in the Armed Forces; in particular, three sons from our Second District of Indiana.
I know that words are only a poor and passing memorial, gone as soon as spoken. Flowers, plaques, and even stone--the other tokens we offer on Memorial Day to celebrate our fallen sons and daughters--all of these will decay and crumble. Nothing we give will endure as long as the gifts of these soldiers who, in their death, gave an example of fidelity that will never die.
Lance Corporal Cameron Babcock, was a native son of Plymouth, Indiana, and a proud member of the United States Marine Corps. Cameron lost his life at Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base in California on January 20.
Cameron was a fine young man. He loved his family and he loved his country. Cameron was fun-loving and was known for his bear hug. He knew the value of the small things that made life a joy--being with friends, playing music, four-wheeling, and spending time with his beloved family. Cameron was successful in enjoying the many riches of life.
His talent with the trumpet led him to compete at the State Jazz Festival in 2005, and his musical talent also led to his participation in the Wind Ensemble, comprised of some of the top musicians at Plymouth High School. Cameron's warm personality attracted to him a wide circle of friends.
But Cameron also knew the value of matters larger than himself. His lifelong dream was to join the proud ranks of the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after graduating from Plymouth High School in 2006, Cameron dove right into this dream and enlisted. His energy, enthusiasm, and many gifts made the Marine Corps, and this Nation, much better.
He became an infantry rifleman, excelling all through basic training. Before long, he proved his bravery by serving a tour of duty in Iraq, spending several months in Ramadi in the Sunni Triangle. In this dangerous setting, Cameron continually did his job faithfully, and he did it well.
He won a variety of honors for his service and, at the time of his death, was prepared to again answer the call of duty for his country and return to Iraq.
Mr. Speaker, I also want to recognize the life and service of Sergeant Joseph Ford, originally of Knox, Indiana, a proud member of the Indiana Army National Guard. He died on May 10, 2008, when his vehicle rolled over during a training exercise near Al Asad, Iraq.
For most of his life, Sergeant Ford was simply known as Joey. Joey had a love of learning throughout his life; in particular, a passion for history that led him to attend the University of Southern Indiana to major in history.
Joey's passion for history reflected a passion for his country. This passion--this patriotism--kindled in him the desire to serve his country. The dedication to military service did not come without challenges for Joey. In order to meet the physical demands of the military, he embarked on an aggressive weight loss program, losing over 70 pounds in order to be able to join the Indiana National Guard.
This desire to serve his country did not stop at the water's edge. His commanding officer, Lieutenant Chastain, stated that Ford wanted to be the gunner on an armored vehicle rather than the driver. He said of Joey, ``He exemplified what a dedicated soldier is.''
This dedication was honored by his posthumous promotion from specialist to sergeant and the awarding of a Bronze Star.
Mr. Speaker, great as his love of country was, he also loved his family, in particular, his parents Dalarie and Sam and his wife Karen.
Joey had met the love of his life while he attended the University of Southern Indiana. His friend and fellow Guardsman, Keith Ausland, noted that his conversations with Joey during training and in Iraq generally ended not with concerns about the mission but concerns about his family. Ausland wrote in his tribute to Joey that, ``Joe was a new husband, and he loved his wife dearly.''
When his mom Dalarie was asked about the one thing she would want her son remembered for, she said, ``He was so kind to everybody. At the memorial service it was amazing just to see all the unique people who loved Joey. He never wrote off anyone, and he was friends with everybody, all shapes, sizes, all walks of life. Joe was a gentle soul.'' So today we remember and honor Joe Ford, a patriot and a gentle soul, a proud dad, a proud husband and a wonderful son.
Mr. Speaker, for much of the history of war, the number of soldiers struck down on the battlefield has been dwarfed by those killed by illness and disease. Thankfully, modern medicine has made the scourge of disease far more remote for our soldiers today, which makes the death of Private Randy Stabnik, also of the Indiana Army National Guard, all the more painful.
On February 17, Private Stabnik died from pneumococcal meningitis, a rare and unexpected death. After Randy had joined the National Guard, his family could see how much he was growing to love his service. His dad Jim, when asked about his son's service, said, ``When he came home for Christmas, I could tell he missed it. He missed the lifestyle. He missed his friends there. He loved it, but missed his son. They were very, very close.''
His son Nathan, only 8 years old, lost his 28-year-old dad. This is part of the tragedy of war. Soldiers fight and die to protect those they love, and we must never forget the burden of sacrifice borne by the loved ones who are left behind.
His son and his family should know that Randy cared deeply for them. His mom said shortly after his death, ``Randy was Mom's baby, Mom's angel. He was my heart.'' And her angel, he remains. But he is also an angel for the entire Nation.
Mr. Speaker, ultimately the greatest memorial to these fallen patriots, to Cameron, to Joey and to Randy, will not be my words nor anything we can build or bestow. Our greatest honor for them will be to look not toward them but to look where they looked, to seek what they sought. If we work for that same good for which they gave their lives, if we create a nation at once more just, more secure, and more free, we will be a brighter beacon in a frequently dark world; and we will have given our fallen brothers and sisters a true memorial worthy of them.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I yield back the balance of my time.