Washington, D.C. – As part of May’s Military Appreciation Month, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Ranking Member Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) introduced H. Res. 1385, a resolution recognizing and honoring the courage and sacrifices of the members of the Armed Forces and veterans. Skelton delivered the remarks below during House debate on the resolution:
“May is Military Appreciation Month, and to honor our men and women in uniform and our veterans, I, along with my good friend from California, Mr. McKeon, have introduced H. Res. 1385.
“I grew up around veterans of the First World War. My father served in the Navy on board the U.S.S. Missouri in that conflict. And he, like so many young men who returned from that war, became the civic and political leaders of their day.
“Tom Brokaw wrote a best-selling book entitled The Greatest Generation, the saga of those who fought the two-front Second World War. These veterans changed the complexion of our country in every walk of life. Their experiences in war, sometimes on the battlefield, instilled in them tremendous confidence and sense of duty and, like the generation of war veterans before them, returned to hometowns across America, large and small, to become leaders in their communities.
“In 1950, President Harry S Truman ordered U.S. military intervention on the Korean Peninsula. In many respects, our participation in the Korean conflict has served as a model for the way our military operates today. Korea was the first multilateral United Nations operation, and it has become the longest standing peacekeeping operation in modern times. And while we are inclined to remember the leaders who ultimately brought us victory in the Korean War—Truman, MacArthur, Acheson, Walker, and Ridgeway—it is really the men and women who served so bravely to whom we pay tribute.
“The need to contain the spread of Communism brought U.S. service members to a small country in Southeast Asia called Vietnam. It was 1964 when Congress passed the Gulf of
Tonkin Resolution and 1973 before the last U.S combat troops left Vietnam. Much is owed to the men and women who served in that conflict, and it must be remembered that
those who fought and died in service to the United States in Southeast Asia are owed the appreciation of a grateful nation, even though so many did not receive the welcome home that they deserved.
“The Persian Gulf War was a tremendous display of U.S. military technology. But what must not be forgotten is that the swift end to combat operations was a result of a sound strategy and the ability of U.S. service personnel to carry out that strategy. And, of course, today, our men and women in uniform are engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. I predict those returning from these conflicts will be another Great Generation. Rising from the sands of the Middle East, these veterans, who have toiled and fought there to bring peace and civilization back to those two beleaguered countries, are truly America’s future.
“In addition to large scale conflicts, U.S. military forces have been involved in far more small-scale contingency operations. In each instance, in numbers both large and small, the men and women of the United States’ Armed Forces have answered their nation’s call.
“So let us remember the importance of those who have worn the uniform and those who wear it today. They have served this nation, and now we must do right by them in Congress, in our communities, and in our everyday lives. Today, we honor their courage and their sacrifice, and to all of them we say thank you.”