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Recognizing the Veterans Who Served During World War II

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


RECOGNIZING THE VETERANS WHO SERVED DURING WORLD WAR II, THE AMERICANS WHO SUPPORTED THE WAR, AND CELEBRATING THE COMPLETION OF THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL -- (House of Representatives - May 11, 2004)

Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 409), recognizing with humble gratitude the more than 16,000,000 veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II and the Americans who supported the war effort on the home front and celebrating the completion of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in the District of Columbia.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran), the prime sponsor of the resolution.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I first thank the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran) for sponsoring this important resolution and for his touching remarks and great work on behalf of the Nation's veterans. It is appreciated by this chairman and many others.

I also want to say I rise in strong support of this resolution which celebrates the completion of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall here in Washington. More than 16 million Americans served in the armed forces, including my own father who saw horrific action in New Guinea, and he ended up in the Philippines at the end of the war. Very, very rarely would he even talk about it unless my brothers and I really prodded him for details. He finally wrote a lot of it out, which makes for some very disturbing but important reading for any son or daughter who had a father who fought in World War II.

This great memorial will crown that achievement because certainly all of our fathers and mothers who participated in the war effort, whether here at home or abroad or in any way who were a part of that great effort, know that without them we would have been, unfortunately, perhaps saluting the Nazi salute or been part of Imperial Japan; and we know the terrible things that they did during World War II.

This is a fitting tribute I think to the peacemakers, the men and women who answered the call and did so so gallantly. More than 400,000 of our GIs lost their lives in World War II. As I said, virtually every American rose to the challenge, and that is why they are the Greatest Generation, as said Tom Brokaw.

This is the first national memorial built to honor all of the dedicated Americans who served during World War II. It stands as a monument to the spirit, sacrifice, and commitment of the American people to the defense of the Nation and really the defense of the world, because without intervention of the United States and the great leadership of Presidents Roosevelt and then Truman, the world would have been lost to tyranny.

Someone said freedom is not free, and nothing could have been more appropriately said by that generation in standing up against tyranny.

This resolution recognizes the leadership of Bob Stump, who as chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs and the Committee on Armed Services, authored legislation to expedite the funding and construction of the memorial. Bob's family must certainly be proud of his role in expediting this memorial and his own valiant service during World War II.

It also recognizes the good work of the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Kaptur) in helping to bring this memorial about. In 1993, we all know Congress passed legislation that authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission, an independent Federal agency, to design and to construct a memorial. After years of planning, public deliberation and fundraising, construction began in September of 2001. Funded primarily with extensive private contributions, the memorial is located within tennis-shoe distance, according to the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran), at the east end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. This prominent location is commensurate with the historical importance and lasting significance of World War II to America and to the world.

On May 29, nearly 59 years after the end of World War II, President Bush will dedicate this fitting memorial, and this ceremony may well be the last large gathering of World War II veterans, and it will be very well attended, I am sure.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Moran) for sponsoring this timely resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Hall).

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Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute. I would like to thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Pombo) chairman of the Committee on Resources, which also has jurisdiction, for allowing this resolution to be considered on the floor in such a timely fashion.

I include the following letter from the Committee on Resources as part of the RECORD.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES,
Washington, DC, May 5, 2004.
Hon. CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH,
Chairman, Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: I understand that the Committee on Veterans' Affairs wishes to schedule for rapid Floor consideration H. Con. Res. 409, recognizing with humble gratitude the more than 16,000,000 veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II and the Americans who supported the war effort on the home front and celebrating the completion of the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in the District of Columbia. This bill was referred primarily to your committee and additionally to the Committee on Resources.

I have reviewed the legislation and have no objection to its consideration. In fact, I have asked the author to add me as a cosponsor before the bill is voted on by the House of Representatives. Therefore, I have no objection to the Committee on Resources being discharged from further consideration of the bill. Of course, this action should not be construed as waiving the Committee on Resources' jurisdiction over the bill or as precedent for other bills. In addition, if a conference on H. Con. Res. 409 should become necessary, I ask that you support my request to have the Committee on Resources be represented on the conference. Finally, because no bill report will be prepared on the legislation, I ask that you include this letter and any reply in the Congressional Record during consideration of H. Con. Res. 409.

I congratulate you and Mr. Moran for producing a timely and thoughtful bill and I look forward to working with you again on other matters of mutual interest.

Sincerely,

Richard W. Pombo,
Chairman.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

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