June 24, 2010
Washington, D.C.—Nevada Senator Harry Reid today gave the following remarks at a congressional ceremony commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
Below are Reid’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
“As many here have noted, America’s sacrifices in Korea deserve a much more prominent place in our nation’s consciousness.
“But we’ve come together today to prove the clichés and the conventional wisdom wrong. To prove that this war is not forgotten. To share the stories that keep its memory alive.
“The stories I know of Korea are the stories of Mike O’Callaghan. Other than my wife, I’ve never had a closer friend than Mike.
“He was my teacher and mentor. He taught me how to box in the ring. He helped me get to – and get through – law school. And we served our state together, Mike as Nevada’s governor and I as lieutenant governor.
“But before any of that, Mike served this country as a United States Marine, in the Air Force and in the Army. He was a sergeant and platoon leader in Korea. Like every hero of that war, his cause was not fame – it was freedom.
“In the bitter cold winter of 1952 – while in combat in what has been called the coldest war – he ran headfirst into enemy fire to bring back his men from the trenches. A mortar round struck his leg, broke his hip and killed others in his squad.
“Mike kept going. He turned a telephone wire into a tourniquet. He took command of his unit, and he refused to leave before the enemy did.
“Mike took home a couple of Silver Stars for his courage, as well as a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. But he left behind his left leg. That didn’t stop him either. By the time the winter turned to summer, Mike was back home, getting an education to teach kids like me.
“Mike is not here today – he died six years ago. But the courage of six decades ago – Mike’s and his fellow warriors’ – is very much present.
“Their heroism lives on in each of the honored guests with us today. It lives on in their stories of service and sacrifice. And it will continue to live as long as we share them.”
RenoBruce R. Thompson
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