congressional record

Portrait_Smiley Obituaries
Moapa Valley Progress
Sacramento Bee
Who's Who 1999
Monday November I, 1999

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 19, 1999, the gentleman from California (Mr. ROHRABACHER) is recognized during morning hour debates for 5 minutes.

Mr. ROHRABACHER. Mr. Speaker, every day America is losing one of our most precious resources. This resource provided our country what it needed to overcome the economic calamity of the Great Depression. It was a resource that saved the world from the twin threats of Nazism and Japanese militarism, and then, when that job was done, turn to rebuilding a shattered planet and, when they deserved to let others pick up the load, they then went and took on communism, which for decades Ioomed as a threat to democratic government and individual rights everywhere.

I am, of course, talking about a generation, perhaps the greatest generation, of Americans, which is now passing from the scene. One year ago my father, Donald Rohrabacher, or Lieutenant Colonel USMC retired Don Rohrabacher died. Just a short time ago, a friend of mine, Bob Smiley, Robert Smiley, Junior, lost his dad.

My dad joined the Marines in the Second World War. Robert Smiley, Senior, volunteered for the Navy. Later, my father helped develop the method of dropping the atomic bomb from a fighter-bomber that helped change the formula during the Cold War, and helped preserve the peace and

preserved America's deterrence. Bob Smiley was instrumental in the Polaris Submarine program, which also deterred war with the Soviet Union. Their technological know-how helped deter war with the Soviet Union until communism collapsed under its own weight, under the weight of its own contradictions and evil.

America is losing one thousand of these veterans from World War II from the Saving Private Ryan generation every day. They escorted us to the doorway of a new millennium. As we enter this new era, which will have unimaginable opportunity and prosperity and peace and freedom, let us remember the Robert Smileys and the Don Rohrabachers and the men and women of their generation for the magnificent gift that they have left us.

Ours would be a far darker and more frightening world if it was not for them, if it was not for their service and their courage. In the history of America, few generations have carried such a heavy burden for as long as they did, or confronted more monumental challenges, or gave so much.

Those truly were great Americans. So let us salute this generation as it marches on. Let us keep faith with them by insisting that America remain true to its ideals of liberty, justice, and democracy. Our greatest tribute to those who saved the world from the Nazis and from the Japanese militarists is to keep America the beacon of hope for the oppressed, to make sure that Old Glory keeps waving proud and strong over the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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