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Tribute to Margaret Jean Wales O'Rourke

Location: Washington, DC

TRIBUTE TO MARGARET JEAN WALES O'ROURKE -- (Extensions of Remarks - October 01, 2004)

Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, the fabric of American history is woven with the hearts of Patriots. Since the colonists' first landing on American soil centuries ago, courageous men and women have toiled, sacrificed, and persevered to build a legacy of freedom and hope for future generations.

While the public contributions of some have been widely lauded, the silent service of countless others is known only in the freedom that we as Americans continue to cherish.

Margaret Jean Wales O'Rourke was one such unheralded patriot.

Born on August 24, 1922, Margaret grew up in Saddle River, New Jersey. She became a nurse and spent time serving at St. Albans Hospital in Long Island, New York. In 1943, in the midst of World War II, Margaret answered her country's call and traveled to California to work as a nurse in the San Leandro Naval Hospital.

While in San Leandro, Margaret met Charles Arthur O'Rourke, the man who would become her husband. A fellow-patriot, Charles was born on December 19, 1923, and joined the Navy in 1942 at the tender age of 18. He spent several years at sea serving in the South Pacific during World War II.

Charles and Margaret completed their time in the Navy in 1946. They married and settled in Ramsey, New Jersey. Although their tours of duty were over, however, their service to country did not end.

The O'Rourke's had three children: Thomas, Shirl, and Barbara. Thomas carried on the O'Rourke military tradition and joined the United States Marine Corps in 1966. He remained in the Marines until 1974, serving as a Cobra pilot in Vietnam.

Today, Thomas's son and Margaret and Arthur's grandson, United States Marine Corps Major Kevin Thomas O'Rourke, continues his family's military heritage, serving as an F-18 pilot in Iraq.

Margaret passed away on August 20, 2004. Her course in life took her farther than she may have anticipated, and her legacy will surely be more enduring than she ever could have imagined. Through their dedication to protecting and preserving liberty, three generations of O'Rourke's have now become part of the tapestry of America.

While Margaret's life on earth has passed, her gift to all of us will endure. I honor Margaret's memory, and her service to the United States of America.

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