Madam Speaker, we honor a fallen American warrior today--a Texas soldier who gave his life serving this country, this country he loved.
U.S. Army Specialist Matthew Catlett was an infantryman with the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky--one of the most prestigious and decorated divisions in the entire United States Army.
The Screaming Eagle warriors landed in Normandy on D-day, and fought the Battle of the Bulge--the crucial turning points of World War II. The Screaming Eagles fought in the rice paddies of Vietnam. They've stood vigil in the deserts and towns of Iraq, and they're leading in Afghanistan the fight against the cowards in the desert--the Taliban.
I have been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Let me tell you something, Madam Speaker, that there is no better fighting machine in the world than the 101st. They were the first conventional unit to deploy in support of the American war on terrorism.
The 101st's "Easy Company" was portrayed in the series "Band of Brothers," and like those in the 101st who have so nobly held that line in their storied history, Matthew gave his life with four other fellow soldiers that day. It was the bloodiest day of the war so far this year.
Madam Speaker, this is a photograph of Matthew Catlett. He and his fellow soldiers were killed when their Humvee was hit by an improvised explosive device. That is called an IED. That is the cowards' way, the Taliban's way, of fighting our troops.
Though, as Shakespeare said, "They shall be remembered--we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother."
Matthew Catlett, this young American hero, was only 23 years of age when he gave his life for this country. There is nothing as noble as the character of a man who so willingly dedicates his life for others. The American warriors serving our military understand that better than anybody. They embody what is meant to be an American, and Matthew Catlett was such a man.
He gave his life on June 7 on a battlefield in Afghanistan, fighting the terrorists who attacked America on September the 11th from that desolate, faraway land.
Matthew grew up in Cypress, Texas. He joined the United States Army right out of Cyprus Ridge High School, always knowing he wanted to be a military man, a soldier in the United States Army. He served a tour of duty in Iraq 3 years ago and had just been redeployed to Afghanistan in April of this year.
Our American warriors make great sacrifices in the heat and the dust and the deserts and the rough, rugged mountains of Afghanistan, where summer temperatures reach almost 120 degrees in the parched desert landscape. Our soldiers track down terrorists under the worst possible conditions, but no matter what hole these cowards try to hide in, our soldiers are able to hunt them down and to keep America safe.
We grieve the loss of this American warrior, but we celebrate and honor his life and his service. We are fortunate that a man like Matthew ever lived. Matthew stood for the best of those American ideals and values exemplified in our fighting infantrymen.
General Robert E. Lee once said, "Duty, then, is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less."
Matthew Catlett did his duty. He served this Nation as the fine soldier he always wanted to be. All of his fellow soldiers gave some, but Matthew Catlett gave all in defense of this Nation. He fought for liberty for a people he did not know in a land that he had never been. He was the American breed. He was a rare breed. So we honor our American warrior, and we honor the families left behind who grieve the loss of their loved one.
Specialist Matthew Catlett was buried with full military honors in Houston's Veterans Memorial Cemetery. His draped coffin was surrounded by flags carried by the old war horses of the Patriot Guard. Those are motorcycle riders, mainly Vietnam veterans, that surround fallen soldiers and their families during a time of grief.
So today I extend my prayers and condolences to Matthew's wife, Brytnee; his two young daughters, Ryann and Stephanie; his parents; his relatives; and his friends. Their American warrior is home, his duty is done, and he is at peace.
George Orwell said, "We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
Our grateful Nation will always remember that Specialist Matthew Catlett stood always ready to do his duty for us.
And that's just the way it is.
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