[Congressional Record Volume 149, Number 59 (Friday, April 11, 2003)]
[House]
[Pages H3346-H3349]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




            NATIONAL FORMER PRISONER OF WAR RECOGNITION DAY

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 7, 2003, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) is recognized 
for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, our brave men and women in uniform continue 
to risk their lives at this hour in Iraq, and let there be no mistake: 
there cause is noble.
  They are disarming and deposing a ruthless tyrant who has brutalized 
the Iraqi people for more than 20 years, and who has threatened the 
security of the Middle East region and the world.
  As the result of the courage, sacrifice, patriotism and 
professionalism of our American Armed Forces--as well as our Coalition 
allies--the Iraqi people have broken free of Hussein's stranglehold.
  Who could not be moved by the scenes broadcast from Baghdad, where 
thousands of newly liberated Iraqi citizens celebrated Hussein's 
defeat?
  However, danger still lurks around every corner. Thus, we pray for a 
successful conclusion to this war and our troops' safe return.
  We also pray for the loved ones and families of the American 
servicemen and servicewomen who will not be returning safely to our 
shores; those who have given their lives for their Nation and the cause 
of freedom.
  And we say a special prayer for the seven Americans who are listed as 
prisoners of war and eight who are listed as missing.
  As we come to this House floor to commemorate national former POW 
Recognition Day, which was observed this past Wednesday, April 9, let 
us join together and offer this solemn pledge: the United States of 
America shall never--never--rest until every single American who is 
believed to be in enemy hands is freed, and every single American who 
is missing is fully accounted for.
  Freedom's defenders must never be forgotten, and thus our mission in 
Iraq is far from accomplished.

[[Page H3347]]

  Our former prisoners of war are national heroes who deserve our 
gratitude and respect.
  Their service placed them in dangerous circumstances, causing their 
capture and imprisonment, often in atrocious conditions.
  We also owe a debt of gratitude to their families for weathering 
agonizing uncertainty while demonstrating support for their loved ones' 
service to our country.
  Although former POWs returned home, too often they carried the extra 
burden of physical and emotional scares.
  They are a testament to history's eternal truth--freedom is not 
free--as well as its unforgiving lesson: the price of freedom is always 
great.
  We remember these courageous heroes in the shadow of the dramatic 
rescue of Pfc Jessica Lynch on April 2.
  She owes her life to the American commandos who stormed the hospital 
where she was being held and rescued her, as well as the brave Iraqi 
man who risked certain death by providing our troops with accurate 
information regarding her whereabouts.
  We recognize the tremendous sacrifice of former prisoners of war like 
Jessica, and we pledge that our Nation will keep its promises to all 
former POWs and veterans.
  Let me close, however, by saying that even as our servicemen and 
women are overseas defending our values, freedom, democracy, human 
rights and the rule of law, there are schemes afoot in this very 
Capitol to give them short shrift once they return home.
  While President Bush has extended his appreciation to members of 
veterans service organizations for ``the lifetime of service you have 
given to our Nation,'' some have proposed cutting veterans' benefits 
and health care by more than $28 billion to help pay for a tax cut.
  This is not only bad policy, it is, in my view, immoral.
  This Nation, as far as I am concerned, has an irrevocable contract 
with America's veterans. And it is one that we must always honor.
  Our veterans and former POWs deserve more than medals and a thank you 
for their service and sacrifice.
  At a time when we are sending thousands of America's sons and 
daughters into harm's way, we should be investing in the programs and 
services our veterans and former prisoners of war deserve, not pulling 
back on our promises.
  We must stand behind our words of gratitude by honoring the 
commitment we made to them for answering freedom's call.
  Mr. HONDA. Mr. Speaker, it is an honor for me to be here today to 
address the situation of former American POWs.
  In this time of war, it is especially important to recognize April 9 
as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.
  While the plight of courageous soldiers such as Pfc. Jessica Lynch, 
who had been captured with 11 other U.S. soldiers from the 507th 
Maintenance Company, brings the concern of POWs to the forefront of our 
minds today, I would like to address my concerns for a group of POWs 
from a previous war, the war from which this important date of April 9 
was chosen.
  I am speaking of those who fought in the Pacific Theater during World 
War II.
  I would especially like to talk about one former POW, Dr. Lester 
Tenney. Dr. Tenney's story mirrors what many of our WWII POWs in the 
Pacific went through.
  Mr. Tenney became a prisoner of war on April 9, 1942, with the fall 
of Bataan in the Philippines. A survivor of the Bataan death march, he 
was sent in a ``hell ship'' to Japan, where he became part of the slave 
labor force in a Mitsui company coal mine.
  Dr. Tenney has stated, and I quote, ``I was forced to shovel coal 12 
hours a day, 28 days a month, for over 2 years, the reward I received 
for this hard labor was beatings by the civilian workers in the mine. 
And if I did not work fast enough or if the Americans had won an 
important battle the beatings would be that much more severe.''
  These POWs who survived the Bataan death march only to be transported 
to Japan in the infamous death ships and forced to work for private 
Japanese companies under the most horrendous conditions are the true 
heroes of our Nation.
  After the war, approximately 16,000 POWs returned--all battered and 
nearly starved to death, many permanently disabled, all changed 
forever. More than 11,000 POWs died in the hands of Japanese, among the 
worst records of physical abuse of POWs in recorded history.
  Now, like many other victims of World War II-era atrocities, the 
remaining survivors and the estates of those who have since passed away 
are seeking justice and historical recognition of their ordeal.
  The former POWs do not seek any action or retaliation against the 
current Japanese Government or against the Japanese people. Nor do they 
seek to portray Asian-Americans in any sort of negative light.
  Rather, they simply seek just compensation from the Japanese 
companies who were unjustly enriched by their slave labor and 
sufferings.
  I am honored to stand here in the House of Representatives, to let 
these men know that I will work with my colleagues to see that there is 
justice done in their situation.
  We must never forget, these are the men of our Nation's greatest 
generation. They volunteered to serve our country, some only 17 or 18 
years old at the time.
  They survived the ordeal of a forced surrender in the Philippines, 
they survived the cruelties of the Bataan death march, they survived 
the hell ships, they survived being POWs in Japan and the tortures of 
slavery.
  For the sake of the past, for the sake of these men today, and the 
sake of our future, we must do right for these men.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to address the House floor 
this evening on this very important matter.
  Mr. McNULTY. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to join with my colleagues, the 
gentleman from Maryland, Mr. Hoyer, and the gentleman from Missouri, 
Mr. Skelton, in solemn observance of National Former Prisoner of War 
Recognition Day.
  At this hour, thousands of brave young Americans in the Armed Forces 
of the United States are carrying out a dangerous yet necessary mission 
in Iraq. Like many Americans, I hoped and prayed for a diplomatic 
settlement to the crisis posed by Saddam Hussein's refusal to disarm. 
Unfortunately, 12 years of diplomacy did not produce the desired 
result. With all other options exhausted, we were forced to proceed 
with the action that should always be reserved for last--the use of 
military force.
  Our troops have heroically responded to this call to arms with 
unyielding courage, devastating efficiency, and unparalleled concern 
for the safety and well being of countless thousands of Iraqi 
civilians. I continue to pray for a swift end to this conflict, and to 
hope that our military personnel will come home soon and safely, having 
liberated the citizens of Iraq from the nightmare they have endured for 
a quarter of a century.
  Despite the unprecedented success of our military forces, Mr. 
Speaker, scores of American families have already had to come to terms 
with the horrible and irrevocable reality of war. Nearly 100 brave 
soldiers have been killed in action. They were mothers, fathers, sons, 
daughters, sisters, brothers and lifelong friends, and my heart goes 
out to all those who loved them.
  My family knows the pain of war. On August 9, 1970, my brother, H.M. 
3 William F. McNulty, a medical corpsman in the Navy, was in the field 
in Quang Pam province, patching up his buddies. He stepped on a land 
mine and he lost his life.
  But his body was recovered. And he was brought back home, and we had 
a wake and a funeral and a burial. Our family suffered a tremendous 
loss, our small village of Green Island, New York, suffered a 
tremendous loss--but we had some closure.
  Mr. Speaker, the families of seven American serviceman and women 
currently listed as prisoners of war, and the families of eleven 
soldiers listed as duty status unknown, or missing in action may never 
enjoy this sense of closure. Just ask the families of the 1,887 
Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the war in Vietnam.
  I have always wondered how terrible it must be for an MIA family, 
never exactly knowing what happened to their loved one--not for a day, 
a week, a month or a year, but for decades.
  Every once in a while, this profound sense of frustration and loss is 
interspersed with joyous news of rescue and heroism. By now, we are all 
familiar with the story of Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Pfc. Lynch was captured 
with 11 other American soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company but 
was later rescued from a hospital in Iraq on April 2, due in no small 
part to the superior skill and preparedness of our Special Forces, as 
well as the courage and humanity of an Iraqi civilian who risked his 
own life, and the lives of his family, by walking 6 miles to inform 
coalition forces of Pfc. Lynch's location. Thanks to these efforts, 
Pfc. Lynch escaped further torture and abuse at the hands of Iraqi 
forces, and lays tonight in an American military hospital in Germany, 
enjoying the company of her family.
  Mr. Speaker, we pay tribute tonight to courageous American heroes 
like Pfc. Lynch. She and so many other former prisoners of war suffered 
through the atrocious coditions of capture and internment, sacrificing 
so much of their freedom in defense of the citizens of this nation and 
the world.
  In the name of all former POWs, I pledge to continue to work to 
ensure that future generations understand the courage of these heroes, 
and that our government follows through on all promises made to former 
POWs--and all veterans.
  Ms. CARSON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank our esteemed 
whip, Mr. Hoyer,

[[Page H3348]]

and the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, Mr. Skelton, 
for organizing this time to reflect on those who have sacrificed so 
much for this country.
  Those members of our military who are still prisoners of war or are 
missing in action have made the ultimate sacrifice without the 
opportunity to return home.
  We can only hope that those young men and women who have been taken 
captive in the current conflict will be treated humanely and returned 
home to us soon.
  Mr. Speaker, there is one former POW I would like to single out, 
current Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan. He entered the United States Navy in 1969 
and served as a naval flight officer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.
  In May of 1972, Lt. Joe Kernan was shot down by the enemy while on a 
reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. He was held as a prisoner of 
war for nearly 11 months.
  Joe Kernan was repatriated in 1973 as part of the last convoy of 
prisoners of war exchanged that ended the war, and continued on active 
duty with the Navy until December of 1974. For his service, Kernan 
received numerous awards, including the Navy Commendation Medal, two 
Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Flying Cross.
  He never forgets May 7, ``the day I was shot down.''
  It was his 26th mission. He was in the rear seat of an RA-5C 
Vigilante reconnaissance jet, on a picture-snapping mission to assess 
bomb damage. They raced along at 650 mph, 80 miles south of Hanoi, then 
navigated down Highway 1 to take photos of traffic.
  They were relatively low--4,500 feet high, compared with the 35,000-
foot altitude a B-52 bomber would fly--when anti-aircraft fire hit the 
plane's tail.
  ``The nose pitched down very violently,'' he said, and the pilot 
tried to make it to the potential safety of the U.S.-controlled Gulf of 
Tonkin. The jet couldn't make it. Kernan ejected, followed closely by 
the pilot.
  ``I blacked out on the ejection,'' Kernan said.
  ``I landed in somebody's front yard on a beautiful Sunday 
afternoon,'' he recalled. ``When I woke up, I found myself on the edge 
of a group of people, surrounding me, watching me get up, with people 
coming at me from everywhere.''
  March 27 marked the 30th anniversary of his release from captivity. 
When looking back on his time in captivity, he minimizes the details of 
his treatment there, saying the end of the war was not as bad as the 
beginning.
  ``What you rely on is your faith, your family, your desire to see 
them again, your will to survive and the knowledge that you're not 
going to be left behind. We won't go home without them. That has been a 
commitment made to everyone who wears the uniform, and it will be 
honored,'' Kernan said.
  We remember those who are still fighting the past wars, those who 
have not had the chance to come home to the families.
  I ask unanimous consent to place in the Record the names of those who 
have not had the chance to come home from the Korean and Vietnam wars.
  Thank you Mr. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time.


                      Korean War POW/MIA--Indiana

       Floyd Neal Acton, James Dwight Adams, Herbert D. Akers, 
     George Anspaugh, Robert Gene Archer, David Baker, Donald 
     Lewis Baker, Donald Lee Barker, Lester William Bauer, Robert 
     Allen Beard, Milton Marion Beed, Lowell W. Bellar, Victor 
     Vernon Bender, A.D. Berry, Charles F. Binge, William Stanley 
     Blasdel, William J. Bowerman, Allen Milford Bowman, Eldon R. 
     Bradley, Kenneth Wilber Brock, Kenneth Brown, Thomas James 
     Brown, Hugh Maynard Burch, Forrest S. Burns, Billie Jack 
     Byard, Donald Caddell, Stanley Louis Calhoun, Jr., George R. 
     Chadwell, Richard A. Chappel, Gene Franklin Clark, Harold 
     Robert Clark, Clyde R. Clifford, James Allen Coleman, Louis 
     Bernard Conde, Jack Dwayne Conrad, Richard Leon Conrad, James 
     L. Constant, Folton Cosby, John Harold Cowger, Clarence 
     Vernon Cox, Jr., Kenneth Lee Cozad, George Eldon Cranor.
       Reed A. Criswell, William R. Cunningham, Kenneth Horton 
     Dally, Howard Dale Dalton, Ezekiel Alfonso Davis, Jack A. 
     Davis, Norman Glen Davis, George Debaun, Jr., Hobart Decker, 
     Raymond Alfred Decker, Clayton C. Delong, Gene Alton Dennis, 
     Stanley L. Dewitt, William L. Dick, Jr., Milton J. 
     Dinerboiler, James Thomas Doody, Donald D. Drew, James R. 
     Dunn, Joseph Durakovich, Donald Wayne Eads, John Omer Eaton, 
     Herbert Phillip Eggers, Howard W. Emrick, William Chester 
     Enright, Robert Vernon Estes, Don Carlos Faith, Jr., Robert 
     Clarence Finch, Peter Paul Fluhr, Jr., Edward Leo Frakes, Ned 
     Charles Frankart, Jack Marvin Frans, George Arthur Frantz, 
     Charles Garrigus, Clifton E. Gibson, Willard M. Gibson, Clyde 
     Goe, Robert Goodall, Joseph P. Greene, Jack Walter Griffith, 
     Edward Allen Gude, John Edwin Guynn, Donald Sewell Hamilton.
       Donald Lane Hamm, Keith Edward Hammon, Gilbert Larry 
     Harmon, Elmer Harris, Jr., Max Eugene Harris, Bannie 
     Harrison, Jr., Gene N. Hatch, Kenneth Verne Hay, Leo Joseph 
     Henkenius, James Fella Hill, Robert Lee Hinds, William M. 
     Hodge, Joseph Francis Holle, Charles Rutherford Holman, Floyd 
     E. Hooper, Ralph Ernest Hubartt, Jr., Paul F. Hukill, Richard 
     George Inman, Edward R. Jaynes, William F. Jester, William R. 
     Jester, Leonard W.E. Jinks, Cornelius A. Jochim, William H. 
     Johnson, Paul Martin Killar, Lawrence Edward Lander, Robert 
     Warren Langwell, Everett W. Leffler, Harry H. Liddle, Jr., 
     Larry Loveless, Earl Paul Lykins, Delbert Ulysses Mace, 
     Donald F. Mangus, Everett D. Manion, Donald Lee Marlatt, 
     Albert F. Martin, Herbert O. Martin, Steve A. Mastabayvo, 
     Earl E. Mcclain, Charles H. Mcdaniel, Raymond John Mcdoniel, 
     Edward Q. Mcfarren, James T. Mcintyre, Herbert V. Mckeehan, 
     Joseph Lawrence Mcanally,
       Morris Meshulam, R. Maurice Metzcar, Melvin J. Michaels, 
     Harry Richard Middleton, Robert G. Minniear, James E. 
     Mishler, Donald K. Mitchell, John D. Moore, Jr., Clarence 
     Taylor Morris, David Wesley Morris, Russell F. Morris, 
     Richard Everett Mullett, Jackie Lee Murdock, Donald William 
     Myers, Thomas W. Neiswinger, Richard L. Nicholson, Charles 
     Northcutt, Jr., Richard Lee Olcott, Raymond Edward Pearson, 
     Virgil L. Phillips, Russell B. Pickens, Lewis Peifer Pleiss, 
     James Plump, Bobby Lee Pothast, Bernard Clayton Reynolds, 
     Donald Ray Rice, Alexander David Rider, Charles D. Riley, 
     Marvin L. Rodman, Edward F. Ross, Robert Lewis Ross, Gene 
     Robert Ruby, John Earl Rush, Marle D. Scott, Richard Dale 
     Scott, Donald R. Sechman, Clifford Gene Selman, Luther Dean 
     Serwise, Gerald Ivin Shepler, Wallace Simmons, Jr., Charles 
     Edward Sizemore, Charles E. Smith, Leland Ford Smith, Marvin 
     W. Soderstrom, Donald E. Spangler,
       Alvin Lowell Stebbens, Paul P. Strawser, Charles 
     Sturdivant, Gene Alfred Sturgeon, Harold Paul Suber, Edwin 
     Felix Tabaszynski, James Willis Talley, John Edward Thurman, 
     Robert Eli Titus, William Wilber Toops, Robert Jerome Tucker, 
     Robert William Turner, Gene Lewis Wagner, Richard L. Wasiak, 
     Robert Lee White, Robert Louis White, Robert Dewitt Wilder, 
     Grover Lois Williams, Merble Eugene Wilson, John George 
     Woliung, Bernard M. Zekucia,


                      vietnam war pow/mia--Indiana

       William W. Bancroft, Jr., Charles Elberg Beals, Quentin 
     Rippetoe Beecher, Stephen Eugene Briener, Harry Franklin 
     Carver, Charles Dennis Chomel, Lawrence Clark, Thomas D. 
     Clem, Kenneth Lloyd Crody, Gene Edmond Davis, Phillip Allen 
     Ducat, Dean Arnold Duvall, George Curtis Green, Jr., Ralph L. 
     Harper, Steven W. Heitman, John Wayne Held, Samuel Eugene 
     Hewitt, John Russell Hills, Donald Russell Hoskins, George A. 
     Howes, Paul F. Johns, James Reed Johnson, Grayland Jones, 
     Karl E. Klute, Charles Allen Knochel, Robert J. Kuhlman, Jr., 
     Bennie Richard Lambton, Michael Lautzenheiser, Karl Wade 
     Lawson, Charles W. Lindewald, James Michael Lyon, Robert L. 
     Mann, Jerry Dean Martin, James Maurice McGarvey, Francis B. 
     Midnight, Harry E. Mitchell, Ronald Wayne Montgomery, Ralph 
     Edward Moore, John M. Nash, William L. Nellans, Larry Stephen 
     Newburn, Thomas Aquinas Parker, Russell Arden Poor, George 
     Ray Posey, Billy L. Rogers, Charles Edward Rogers, Charles 
     David Schoonover, Ronald Eugene Smith, Ronald P. Soucy, Sr., 
     Bruce Wayne Staehli, Kenneth A. Stonebraker, John F. Stuart, 
     John Steiner Stuckey, Jr., Donald Joesph Trampski, Raymond 
     Anthony Wagner, Junior Lee Whittle, Thomas T. Wright, Robin 
     Ray Yeakley, Jeffrey Jerome Young.

  Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I am proud of the fact that I frequently 
take time in this chamber to salute the men and women of our nation's 
armed forces who serve America so well. Today, I am proud to join my 
colleagues in this special order to express gratitude to a special 
category of U.S. veterans on National Former Prisoner of War 
Recognition Day.
  While the men and women of our Armed Forces may expect to experience 
some hardships during their service to our country--perhaps in boot 
camp, or in time away from home and family, or even in combat--our 
soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have been captured and held 
as prisoners of war have experienced hardships we can barely imagine 
and frequently even they cannot bear to share with anyone.
  Last year, our former colleague from Florida Representative Karen 
Thurman hosted a briefing with two survivors of World War II's Bataan 
death march and the Japanese prisoner of war camps. They came to 
Washington to discuss their war experiences with Members and with 
staff. It is no exaggeration to say that after hearing their testimony 
and other similar accounts, it is simply a wonder and a miracle they 
survived. A majority of their comrades in arms did not.
  One of the veterans said that although more than 50 years have 
passed, it was only in the last several years that he had even told his 
wife about the horrors he and his fellow soldiers suffered. After the 
war, I am told, many of the heroic Americans who made it through 
unspeakable suffering were encouraged not to tell anyone about their 
prisoner of war status. If this is true, and I have no real reason to 
doubt it, that in itself is shameful and I am so glad we can put that 
sentiment to rest by honoring and recognizing our former POWs today.

[[Page H3349]]

  Proclamations declaring National Former Prisoner of War Recognition 
Day happen every year, but this year it is particularly meaningful as 
we remember those from past conflicts and also focus on those service 
members who are currently engaged in the war in Iraq. Our thoughts and 
prayers are with all of our coalition forces and their families, 
particularly those who may have lost a loved one or whose family member 
or friend has been listed as missing or as a POW. Many families 
throughout the United States are having to call upon reserves of 
strength to get through this difficult time, but they should never 
forget that the entire nation shares their hope for the future, their 
joy in times of good news, and if need be, their grief in loss.
  In recent days, the harrowing accounts told by Americans who were 
held by the Iraqis during the 1991 Gulf War have raised fears that the 
men and women who are missing today may suffer similarly criminal 
treatment. The evidence that we have so far indicates that this is the 
case. I am very concerned, as I am sure my colleagues are concerned, 
that we must do everything in our power to ensure that those who have 
committed war crimes are brought to justice.
  Last Friday, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing to 
examine the international law regulating the treatment of prisoners of 
war. Yesterday, House Armed Services Committee Chairman duncan Hunter 
and I sent a letter to the President suggesting that post-World War 
II's Nuremberg trials be used as a framework to convene an 
international military tribunal for the prosecution of war crimes 
committed during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Just as the Nuremberg trials 
were conducted by the four nations who won that war--the United States, 
Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union--so, too, could a tribunal 
resulting from this war be conducted by the principal coalition 
partners: the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Poland, and 
Kuwait. Whatever system is put in place, justice will be our priority.
  Without a doubt, we live in a special country. Americans have a 
spirit of idealism that cannot be broken, and our citizens strive to 
serve our country however possible. This spirit is evident throughout 
our nation, but also in the U.S. Congress, where several former POWs 
serve with distinction. Congressman Sam Johnson of Texas, Senator John 
McCain of Arizona, and former Congressman Pete Peterson of Florida 
could have very easily and justifiably returned home from Vietnam and 
devoted their lives to things other than government service. But they 
chose to continue their contribution by participating in electoral 
politics and doing the work that makes our American democracy a 
success. Their stories, as young men in uniform and in their later 
careers, inspire us all.
  On this National Former POWs Recognition Day, we honor and express 
our gratitude to all former prisoners of war, whether they served 
during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or 
the current Iraq War. There is absolutely nothing we can do to make up 
for the sacrifices our service members and their families endured 
during their captivity in enemy hands. But as a nation, we can, and we 
must, thank them for their willingness to pay the price required to 
ensure America's freedoms. In the Congress, we must also be vigilant to 
ensure that our nation follows through on the promises we have made to 
our veterans and former POWs. As fellow citizens, it is the least we 
can do to begin to repay the debt that we owe them for their service to 
the American people.
  Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor former prisoners of 
war, and to thank them for their bravery and dedication to our nation.
  The United States military has no equal. Our servicemen and women are 
the best-trained and are the best-prepared to accomplish successfully 
their missions. However, as the war in Iraq has reminded us, we cannot 
always prevent the worst from happening.
  The conditions for POWs, more often than not, are too difficult and 
too painful to imagine. I can only imagine the worry and the 
uncertainty that their families must feel each day until their loved 
one is brought home. The rescue of Jessica Lynch showed not only the 
commitment of our troops to finding their fellow servicemembers, but 
the bravery of Lynch herself, who stayed strong and focused.
  Throughout history, America's military men and women have traveled 
around the world to fight for the causes of freedom and democracy. In 
this selfless pursuit, they knew that the battle would not always be 
easy. We owe them all an enormous debt of gratitude.
  We cannot forget our veterans who helped to make this country what it 
is today and who have brought peace to other nations across the globe. 
Our nation's fighting men and women are currently engaged in a military 
conflict in Iraq. While they fight bravely for the principles upon 
which the United States was founded, we at home cannot turn our backs 
on veterans who deserve to have access to the benefits that they 
deserve.
  Today, we recognize National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day. 
I believe that each day we should remember these brave individuals, and 
the sacrifices that they made for all of us.
  Thank you.

                          ____________________