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Public Statements

Honoring Our Armed Forces

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. INHOFE. Mr. President, I rise today to honor the memory of a brave young American who gave his life defending our Nation. I went to the ceremony out at Arlington this morning for this young man. It was one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. This man felt a call to serve his country, to be a part of something bigger than himself. For that call, he paid the highest price.

2LT Luke James of Hooker, OK, was a platoon leader in the 82nd Airborne's B Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, stationed at Fort Bragg, NC. He is survived by his wife Molly and their little son Bradley who was born just 6 months ago. His parents Brad and Arleen James live in Hooker, OK, where Luke played football at Hooker High School and graduated near the top of his class. Luke later attended and graduated from Oklahoma State University where he participated in the ROTC program and earned a degree in animal science.

While on a dismounted patrol, Luke was killed by a roadside bomb during an ambush on January 27. He gave his life for the freedom of millions of Americans and for the peace and future of the Iraqi people.

Lieutenant James had long imagined a life of service in the Army. He was going to be career. These aspirations were realized culminating with his commissioning into the airborne infantry on December of 2002. His parents have described how Luke embodied the selfless attitude toward service to country that is so evident in all of our military men and women.

On February 10, I had the opportunity to attend Lieutenant James' funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony honored Luke, and deservedly so. In the words of Lieutenant James's mother, speaking of her son, she said:

We are very proud as his parents that he had the attitude he had, and wanted to serve. . . . It wouldn't have been this mother's choice, but you have to have young men and women willing to preserve the freedom we have. We are glad he was willing.

He was willing. We as a nation are grateful. The loss of 2LT Luke S. James is grievous to all of us. Our thoughts are with his wife and son, as well as his family in Oklahoma.

Today we recognize his valor and commitment. It is for men like Luke James I am proud to be a part of this great Nation. He was a special soldier, a real Oklahoman, and a true American.

As we tour over there, and see these young warriors and their attitude and commitment and patriotism, it is so heartwarming. I am sure at one time or another I saw Luke, but I don't remember when that was. But he is certainly typical, and his family, recognizing that he made the supreme sacrifice, but he made it for us. He knew that risk was there when he took on the position he held.

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