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Dedication of the World War II Veterans Memorial

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, let me say to our colleagues from the greatest generation, it is very difficult to imagine how one could improve upon the observations already made by the majority leader, the Democratic leader, and the President pro tempore. We all stand in admiration of their remarkable service.

America has sort of rediscovered World War II beginning in 1994 with Steven Ambrose's great book about D-day, followed up by his marvelous book "Citizen Soldiers," which was about the replacements that came after D-day, one of whom was my dad.

I stand here today as a proud son of one of the greatest generation. I was unable to make the World War II Memorial opening the other day, but I did have an opportunity to watch it on television. At the same time, I was going through some old letters from my father to my mother from the theater, the most interesting of which was a letter dated at the top "VE Day, May 8, 1945, Pizen, Czechoslovakia." As one of the foot soldiers in the Second Division, he had fought his way from March, April, and May across Germany and met the Russians in Pizen. Now free to kind of express himself without fear of the mail being censored, he alluded to a pretty tough couple of months of fighting in Germany without any specifics, obviously-the members of the greatest generation never wanted to talk about the specifics-and made, I thought, a rather prophetic observation.

This was a regular foot soldier in Europe on the day the Germans surrendered. He said: I hope we will not draw down the force too much, and I am really worried about the Russians.

He had had a chance to meet the Russians in Pizen when the two forces came together.

So in addition to celebrating the marvelous service of our six colleagues from the greatest generation, I thought I would take the opportunity to allude to my father who was also one of the 16 million Americans who served in uniform during World War II. This generation has made an enormous contribution to our country.

Tom Brokaw argued, and I think he was probably correct, this is certainly the greatest generation probably since the generation of the Founding Fathers. All six Senators have our admiration and respect. We thank them not only for their service overseas but their service in the Senate in the ensuing years. They are, indeed, great Americans.

I yield the floor.

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