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Public Statements

Our Precious Gift of Freedom

Floor Speech

Location: Washington DC

Mr. CRAPO. Mr. President, in a few days, a very special dedication will be held a short distance from here. Thanks to the diligence, commitment, and hard work of many people across the United States, our Nation's capital will officially be the proud home to the long-overdue World War II Memorial. It is definitely a time for celebration-a celebration of freedom, life, and honor, a celebration of the United States of America. Most of all, it is a celebration of all the soldiers and citizens who gave life and limb during the early years of the 1940s.

Idaho is home to many World War II veterans. This Memorial Day weekend, those veterans, along with veterans from every State and others who helped at home and abroad, can celebrate a very special Memorial Day. Many fought and many died to defend the United States in a war that ended 59 years ago. Sixteen million served, and 400,000 did not return to families and friends. Each one of these lives increased the value of our citizenship exponentially and immeasurably. This memorial, the design of which was selected after careful review of 400 submissions, stands as a reminder of the sacrifice of many. It is a most profound honor to their memory.

Watching the evening news is a sobering reminder of what this memorial stands for. It represents freedom from tyranny, peace and justice for all people, bravery in the face of terror and death, and love for America that surpasses words while challenging complacency. The World War II Memorial has an important role to play in teaching us about the price of freedom. It reminds each one of us that we cannot take our United States citizenship lightly. It calls on us to be vigilant in preserving those freedoms as those who have gone before have done with such conviction and singleness of purpose. Many veterans know all too well the physical and emotional challenges that the current generation of military personnel and their families are facing. Their wisdom, insight, and experience will help those who themselves are brand new veterans. These young men and women face the same challenges that others did over half a century ago. This memorial serves as a reminder of the debt of honor and gratitude we owe all veterans. We have a responsibility to care for them and, in our national leadership roles, we must take steps which do the most to support these brave defenders of our freedom.

This memorial represents those who have given life and limb in military service, and it also reminds all Americans of the gift of immeasurable cost-the gift of freedom-that the lives of brave men and women have purchased for all of us. And I can think of no better reason to celebrate.

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