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Coronavirus

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 18, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I am rising today, along with others, giving thanks to our military and servicemembers and our veterans. In our family, this comes naturally. I am the son of Wes Roberts, a World War II Marine veteran who fought at Okinawa and Iwo Jima, and as a Marine veteran myself, I say with certainty and pride that there is no greater duty than to stand with those who have put country before self.

I might add that my dad was age 41; he lied about his age and said he was 39. There was a niche in the Marine Corps at that time to be an air ground officer. That quickly turned into a combat situation, both in Okinawa and Iwo Jima. I am very thankful that he was spared. I would also like to add that I thank former President Truman for making a decision that allowed him and 800,000 other Americans to come home.

It is of the utmost importance, especially today, to pause and to recognize and thank veterans everywhere for their service in defending our Nation from threats, both overseas and here at home.

Another point of privilege I would like to point out is that before the pandemic, we were set to dedicate the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial on May 8. That was the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day--an anniversary with worldwide significance.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, we dedicated the memorial in September, and now, after decades of work, the memorial dedicated to our President and the Supreme Allied Commander and Kansas's favorite son, Dwight D. Eisenhower, is attracting generations of visitors to the National Mall. I drive by it on Independence Avenue when I am going home. I am always amazed that there are 25 or 30 people taking pictures of Ike, both as President and also the Supreme Allied Commander.

I am delighted that we are relearning the contributions of this great President and a man who basically saved Western democracy and gave us 8 years of peace and prosperity as President.

The memorial encourages all visitors to learn more about the critical role Ike played in not only shaping our Nation and defining the United States of America on the world stage but leading our country through 8 years of peace and prosperity. He recognized the promise of America and the reciprocal responsibility of his people to serve the Nation that serves them. As he said in his first inaugural address, ``It is the firm duty of each of our free citizens . . . to place the cause of this country before the comfort, the convenience of himself.'' It was Eisenhower's decision to launch the D-day invasion that helped turn the tide of war in Europe and save Western democracy.

While the memorial pays tribute to his valiant leadership, it also pays tribute to the ``greatest generation.'' Without their bravery and sacrifice during World War II, the world, no doubt, would be a very different place.

Now, we have another favorite son in Kansas. My dear friend and mentor, Senator Bob Dole, is another one of these heroes of the ``greatest generation,'' and he made a tremendous effort in making the World War II Memorial a reality. In talking with Bob about his effort and then his key role in making the Eisenhower Memorial an actuality and being successful, now anybody who is a World War II veteran--and those numbers are decreasing dramatically every year--however, they can get some transportation up here on Independence Avenue and pay homage to their Commander in Chief and salute him as they would have liked to have done years back.

I would point out that through my 40 years of service in both the House and Senate, I have said many times that the No. 1 priority of our Federal Government is to provide for the safety and security of our great Nation and to encourage those who protect us and to give them due. It has also been an honor to serve as a marine and to serve the great State of Kansas in Washington.

Our Nation is forever indebted to the acts of bravery and sacrifice of the service men and women who repeatedly answer the call of duty and step forward to defend the freedoms we all hold dear. Each and every one of us--more especially in this body--give the thanks of a grateful Nation to our Nation's veterans.

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