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Public Statements

Sportsmen's Act of 2012--Motion to Proceed

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I thank my friend from Arizona. I will be very brief because I know others want to speak.

This last conversation is extremely important. Northern Africa and other Arab countries are in a state of flux, to say the least. The Arab spring has caused lots of questions and profound implications that we don't begin to now fathom. Those countries don't have executive governments that have any experience. They have replaced tyrants who preceded them. These are Muslim countries.

Many of the people who live in these countries believe other parts of the world are more wealthy and they have been put upon. Add to that, these are countries which, in most respects, have very high unemployment. Add to that, most of the demographics of these countries are such that close to half of the population is under the age of 25 or 30, maybe even younger than that. It is a powder keg, and these are countries which don't have the history and culture of the first amendment freedom of speech we have.

I say all this because I urge all of us on both sides of the aisle to work together. It is an extremely complicated, complex situation.

It used to be not too many years ago that politics stopped at the water's edge. It used to be not too many years ago that on foreign policy issues, because they are nonpartisan, we as a country worked together.

We addressed the world with one voice. So I strongly caution my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to not make this a partisan issue; that is, U.S. policy in the Middle East, especially in this case, northern Africa--but, rather, we work together. It is so important.

There is probably a reason why politics used to stop at the water's edge not too many years ago. Because it made us a lot more effective worldwide. I urge my colleagues not to be too critical of the other side of the aisle. It gets us nowhere. It is dividing and conquering, and that puts us at a great point of weakness.

SECOND BIG SKY HONOR FLIGHT TO DC

I rise on another matter and that is to recognize a very important event that is occurring this Sunday and Monday. What is that? Eighty-nine World War II veterans from the State of Nevada will take part in the Big Sky Honor Flight and come to Washington to visit their monument, the World War II Memorial. Their trip is hosted by the Big Sky Honor Flight Program. The mission is to recognize American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, DC, to see their memorials at no cost. They raised money from Montanans all across the State to make this possible. I helped make this possible at steak fries, et cetera, and in today's economy, Montanans' generosity in paying for these flights is something special. Don't forget it has to be two tickets, one for the vet and one for the person helping the vet, because these World War II vets have been around several years and they often need a little bit of assistance.

One of the passengers on Sunday's flight is a 102-year-old. His name is Dr. McDonald W. Held of Billings, MT. Don has had a remarkable life. He has been a U.S. Air Force intelligence worker, a professor, an author, a minister, and a college president. Don was born in 1909. What was going on in 1909? That year President Taft was inaugurated as the 27th President. The U.S. Army received its first delivery from the Wright brothers. Congress passed the Homestead Act, which resulted in a large influx of settlers all across the West, including my State of Montana.

Don graduated from Baylor University in 1933 with a degree in speech. Although he earned his master's and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University, Don's heart remained at Baylor. He wears a Baylor workout suit every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday when he exercises at the Billings YMCA. Remember, Don is 102 years old.

During World War II, Don served in the Air Force as an intelligence officer in the Philippines. After the peace treaty was signed he was stationed in Tokyo. He worked just a couple of buildings down from GEN Douglas MacArthur.

After the war, Don embarked on his career in academics at Howard Payne University, as a professor there from 1955 to 1964. He presided over the speech and theater department and served as academic dean. Don then worked for 7 years at Wayland Baptist University before moving to Billings, MT.

In Billings he became the first head of the speech and theater department at the Eastern Montana College, which we now know as Montana State University-Billings.

At age 74, Don was ordained as a Baptist minister in the Baptist church. He has ministered in three churches in Montana and also served as a president of the Yellowstone Baptist Bible Institute, now Yellowstone Baptist College.

Don and his wife Beverly have five children, five grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren so far. His son Don, Jr., a veteran of the Vietnam war, will escort him to Washington this Sunday.

This is a special weekend for this group of heroes. Believe me, I was here when the last honor flight came in. I cannot remember a time when I have been so touched by people. You see these World War II vets. Most of the men and women are just talking about their experiences. They are the ``greatest generation,'' as has been mentioned before, especially by Tom Brokaw.

It is time to give them thanks for their courage, time to give them thanks for their sacrifice. They have done so much. It is time to reflect on all the sacrifices they made. Think of it, battles of Europe, Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, deserts of Iraq, and those who are currently fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan. We must not forget them.

Please join me in welcoming our Montana heroes to Washington this weekend. I am going to be down there. I know many others will too.

I yield the floor.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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