Tribute to Kentucky World War II Veterans

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: May 10, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, I rise today in honor of a group of men from the Commonwealth of Kentucky who all acted bravely and valiantly during their time of service in the United States Armed Forces in World War II. Glenn Combs, Toleman Combs, Mansell Stone, Benjamin Garrison, Walter Garrison, Rufus Miller, Earl Hobbs, and Elvy Roberts, who are all from different towns and hollers in Clay County, KY, each has a fascinating story of his experiences while in the military. And it is my hope to share a few of those with you today.

When the United States of America decided to enter the Second World War, we did so with an insurmountable level of patriotism, dedication, and determination to defeat the Axis Powers. Men were going to extreme lengths to enlist and answer the call to serve their country, and protect freedom and democracy in the foreign countries around the world in which it was being tested.

Earl Hobbs, one of the men in this group of eight, had learned that he was just 2 pounds shy of the minimum weight required by the U.S. Army at the time of his enlistment. Upon hearing this news, he hurriedly ran to the nearest convenience store and purchased 3 square pounds of bananas. He gobbled them down right there outside the grocery, every last one of them. Later that day he passed the physical, including the weight requirement, and was an official member of the U.S. Armed Forces. It was instances like Earl's that truly inspire me; instances of men and women going to such great lengths to secure their freedom and the freedom of the ones that they love.

Earl's action that day so long ago was just one of many from what we call the ``Greatest Generation.'' Men and women alike across the Nation assumed new and unfamiliar assignments and positions that they may not have been comfortable with, all for the cause of defending liberty and securing freedom. We must look to the veterans of not only the Second World War, but the veterans of all the Nation's conflicts and struggles, with the utmost respect. We must not take for granted the inalienable rights we have so passionately fought to gain and maintain, and we must never forget those who have made the greatest sacrifice made by many on behalf of those rights.

I truly cherish the opportunity to stand on the floor of the U.S. Senate today to speak on behalf of these eight men and relate a true story of a local Kentucky ``Band of Brothers'' who decided to honor God and country and selflessly serve all those who inhabit this great Nation.

Mr. President, I ask my colleagues to join me in commemorating the great contributions of Glenn Combs, Toleman Combs, Mansell Stone, Benjamin Garrison, Walter Garrison, Rufus Miller, Earl Hobbs, and Elvy Roberts to the cause of freedom.

In July of 2011 there was an article published in the Manchester Enterprise, Clay County's local newspaper, which featured the truly unique journey these eight World War II veterans have experienced in their lifetimes. I ask unanimous consent the said article be printed in the Record.

There being no objection, the article was ordered to appear in the Record as follows:


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