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Remembering 13 American Heroes

September 3, 2021
Weekly Columns

Last week, 13 heroic Americans lost their lives in a tragic and preventable terrorist attack at the Kabul airport. While we have heartbreakingly learned about who each of these service members were over the past week, we can be undoubtedly proud that our country produces such amazing young people who choose to put service above self.

May we never forget the bravery and always remember the legacies of Staff Sergeant Darin Taylor Hoover, Sergeant Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sergeant Nicole Gee, Corporal Hunter Lopez, Corporal Daegan Page, Corporal Humberto Sanchez, Corporal David Lee Espinoza, Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz, Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, Lance Corporal Dylan Merola, Lance Corporal Kareem Nikoui, Hospitalman Maxton Soviak and Staff Sergeant Ryan Knauss.

While each came from a different background and corner of our country, these outstanding young Americans all volunteered to serve in our military to uphold America’s highest values. These brave Americans loved their careers and our country enough to risk their lives so the rest of us can live in peace and freedom. And when asked to go into harm’s way to rescue their fellow Americans and those who had cast their lot with the United States, they did so without question or hesitation. They knew there was a threat of an attack, but they continued to dutifully carry out their mission.

To honor their sacrifice, earlier this week I cosponsored legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to each of these fallen U.S. service members. While there certainly is no action great enough to express our thankfulness for their service and ultimate sacrifice, I hope our nation can bestow this honor upon them and bring some level of comfort to their families, knowing their lives were not lost in vain.

However, there are answers we must seek and action we must insist upon. I, along with many of my colleagues, also cosponsored legislation in the House this week to require four important actions from the Biden Administration. These include establishing a plan of action on how it will get out the people left behind enemy lines, providing an account of the U.S. equipment left behind that is now in Taliban hands, prohibiting recognition of the Taliban as the legitimate government and barring any funds or other aid to the Taliban. 

We must never forget the service and sacrifice of these 13 American heroes, their families or their fellow wounded warriors. We must also keep those serving in nearby regions of Afghanistan in our prayers who now face new threats of terror. May these brave servicemembers Rest In Peace and be remembered and honored forever by a grateful nation.