Mr. Speaker, Saturday we celebrated Veterans Day. Veterans Day is a holiday, but it is more of a memorial. It is a day we honor those who served. It started because of the end of the war to end all wars, World War I, and on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the First World War stopped, and because of that, since then we honor all veterans who have served.

Memorial Day is the day we honor those who served and died. Veterans Day is the day we honor those who served and lived.

In this House of Representatives today, in the 109th Congress, about 25 percent of Congress has served in the military. In 1950, in the fifties, about 65 percent were veterans; 111 Members of Congress served during the Vietnam era, 78 of whom served in the Vietnam era, and 20 of those saw combat. We have our own Sam Johnson, who was a Navy pilot during Vietnam, was shot down and spent 7 years in the Hanoi Hilton prisoner-of-war camp.

We have in this House of Representatives at least eight Members who have sons or daughters serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. We have Senator Inouye of Hawaii who was a Medal of Honor winner. All of these people served and served with honor.

War for independence costs the lives of Americans. Freedom has always cost, and it always will, and I think it is worth noting the time frame of the wars that this country has fought in and those who died.

In the War of Independence, 5,000 Americans died. In the Mexican-American War, there were 13,000 Americans. In the War Between the States, there were 250,000 Confederates and 350,000 troops of the Union army, but they were all Americans; 600,000 died for this country. In World War I, there was 116,000. In the great World War II, 408,000 died for this country.

My dad was one of those who served in the great World War II, and he, like many veterans of that war, never talked of that engagement until many, many years after that war was over with.

In Korea, it is sometimes said of the Korea war it is the forgotten war, 55,000 Americans died. In Vietnam, 58,000 died. In the first gulf war, 300 troopers died, and in our latest fight in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, 3,000 have died.

The point being, in these few wars that I have mentioned, not all of the wars, this country has always called upon the American warrior to be the one to protect us from the forces of all evil.

I have had the honor to be in Iraq with many of our troops, as many of our House Members have been, and I find them to be, in my opinion, the greatest military ever assembled, with their morale extremely high.

Over Labor Day weekend, I had the honor to go and see some of our troops in military hospitals overseas and to see and visit with them, and before I went, I asked my staff in Texas to see if we could arrange to have some of the local school kids write and make some homemade cards. In 2 days' notice, they were able to produce about 5,000 handmade cards that I took to our troops overseas, who were very grateful.

The point being, I think now in this time in our history our country is grateful to the American warrior for putting their life on the line for the rest of us. So we can do no better than to honor those who have served, the American warrior. And though it was said in the Vietnam era that some gave all and all gave some, that is true of the American veteran. So we thank them on this day and every day, those that served and lived and those that served and did die for this country.

And that's just the way it is.