Washington, Nov. 17 -

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Mr. Speaker, half way around the world in the desert of the sun and the valley of the gun the American warrior stands fighting the forces of the enemy. But one such soldier returns from battle to America with a flag draped coffin.

He is Cody Norris – Army Private First Class – a machine gunner in the Infantry – just 20 years old, barely an adult – but still an all American man.

For the Norris family in La Porte, Texas, Cody was a son and a little brother. He died in a gun battle last week in Afghanistan for our country. He was the 38th warrior in my area of Texas to give his life for his country.

Cody grew up in La Port. He graduated from La Porte High School just last year, but he quickly volunteered for the US Army in October. In high school, Cody loved to restore old military trucks. He restored a 1952 Dodge M-37 Army truck and drove it to school. He was a member of Junior ROTC Color Guard at La Port High School. But, this year his former classmates and peers in the Color Guard honored his life.

He was Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas before deploying to Afghanistan.

It was his first deployment in Afghanistan. October 1st marked his 1 year anniversary in the United States Army.

Cody was killed in the Kandahar province last week – on November 9th - when the enemy forces attacked his unit with small arms fire. Kandahar Province in Afghanistan has been called the birthplace and fanatical home of the notorious Taliban. It is a dangerous part of the world.

I’ve been to Afghanistan several times. The sun is unbearable in the summer, and the cold is brutally piercing in the winter. And, our soldiers fight on, undeterred, and tenaciously focused. They go to battle in a land seemingly cursed by God. Our military in Afghanistan go where others fear to tread and the timid are not found.

When I spoke to Cody’s mother, Teresa Denise Norris, she told me Cody marched to the beat of his own drum. He didn’t care what others thought of him, he did what he thought was right. She said Cody was proud to be a soldier and that their family believes in the red, white and blue and they all love this country. That pride is carried through Cody’s older brother, Michael Norris. He’s a cadet in his last year at the US Military Academy at West Point – The Norris family is a soldier’s family.

Cody’s Facebook page is filled with heartfelt messages from his friends, classmates and fellow soldiers. It is evident how much he made people laugh in his very young life.

Cody wrote on his Facebook in the “About Me” Section:

“I am in the army and I am an infantry man! I love what I do as my job and my dream in life and no one can take that away from me. I am trained by the best and I will be the best I can. I want do all I can for the ones I love and my country. Too keep us all free, even if it means death. So that every American can their dreams out as well.”

Cody loved what he did. He loved his country. He was selfless and he was an American Patriot.

For his service in the Army, Cody has been awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with two campaign stars, the NATO medal and the Combat Infantry medal.

Cody Norris was part of the rare breed – The American breed – soldiers who take care of the rest of us and watch for the evil doers who would bring us harm. They prove their commitment to America by giving their lives for this nation.

Gen. George Patton said of his fallen soldiers:

“Let us not only mourn for the men who have died fighting, but let us be grateful to God such men ever lived.”

Mr. Speaker, we are grateful to PFC Cody Norris and that he lived. He was a Texan, soldier and an American warrior.

And that’s just the way it is.

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