|3:06 PM EDT||
Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th
Mr. RANGEL. Madam Speaker, I thank the chairman for his gracious remarks and the work he has done to facilitate the bringing to this floor this resolution. I want to thank the other side of the aisle. I have never seen anything move so fast, and I am so deeply grateful that this happened.
Some of you don't know, but the Korean Government invited JOHN CONYERS, SAM JOHNSON, HOWARD COBLE and me to go to Korea on June 24 and 25, but the legislative calendar prevented this from happening. But because of their enthusiastic support, as well as mine, next week the Speaker and the minority leader have agreed not to forget those people who served our country; and, indeed, served the international freedom community.
I want to thank also from my office Emile Milne and Hannah Kim for working with all of the committees that had jurisdiction to expedite the fact that this will be done before June 25.
I am reminded when you gave the facts that led up to the North Koreans invading South Korea, I was a 20-year-old kid in the barracks in Fort Lewis, Washington, when a sergeant screamed that the North Koreans had invading South Korea and the Second Infantry Division was slated to go to defend them. I was so anxious to leave Fort Lewis, I said: Hurrah. Where the heck is Korea?
I had no idea that a police action involved putting yourself in harm's way. But away we did go. There was some question at that time whether we could even land in Pusan because the North Korean Communists had been so successful that they drove the 25th Division and Japan and the People's Republic of South Korea to the Pusan peninsula, but we were able to push them back. The marines landed in Inchon and the Chinese came, and you know the rest of that story.
But how grateful I am to be not just alive, but to know we all participated once again in defending a democracy even in countries where we don't know the people and don't know the country. And as a result of that, one of America's strongest allies is the government of Korea. The truth of the matter is with China there and North Korea there, and especially the threat of Iran, South Korea has represented a symbol not only of democratic principles but a symbol of what can happen economically when
freedom and democracy is the atmosphere in which we are working.
Those of us who served, especially the 50,000 who did not come back home, the close to 100,000 that were wounded, the 8,000 that were prisoners of war, we had no idea that our sacrifice would rebuild a nation from ashes to the great [Page: H4562]
economic power it is today, and the great contributions Korean-Americans make each and every day in all parts of every town, city and every state that we have.
But I want to particularly thank JOHN CONYERS who is the next highest senior member here in the House of Representatives. I want to thank HOWARD COBLE. He is a veterans' veteran. There is not a day I see him that he does not remind me and others that we should never forget the sacrifices that are made for all of us and our children and our children's children. And, of course, SAM JOHNSON who I serve with on the Ways and Means Committee, is truly a hero. Very few Americans
are living who have made the type of sacrifices that he has made for his country.
So collectively and on behalf of all of the veterans who have served, and particularly for this war that they call the Forgotten War, we were sandwiched between the World War II and the Vietnam War. So many people asked when we came back home: Where were you? They had no idea America had been involved. But we were involved.
The 21 nations will have representatives here next week to thank America, as we thank them, for allowing this great country to be involved in what appeared to be a very unimportant crisis. But at the end of the day, this country has risen to be one of our best trading partners, one of our best political partners, and certainly has made an outstanding contribution to the entire world of free countries and free people.
And so, Chairman FALEOMAVAEGa, I thank you for giving us the opportunity to celebrate this occasion and never to forget those who made it possible for us to be free men and free women.