• Mr. Speaker, we are quickly approaching the 100th anniversary of the United States' entrance into World War One; A war in which Texans played a critical role.
  • From the fields of Flanders and trenches of France, to the towns of Germany and bases on the home front, 200,000 Texans proudly served in the Armed Forces during the First World War, between 1917 and 1919; They went to a land they had never been and died for people they did not know.
  • 5,000 Texans gave their lives.
  • Boys who grew up on farms in Texas suddenly became men as they found themselves in the muddy, rainy, and bloody trenches an ocean away.
  • Life in the trenches was hard. Men were constantly bombarded with artillery and machine gun fire. And they often faced the danger of going over the trenches and crossing no man's land, trying to repel the enemy forces attempting the same.
  • In the midst of battle and in the face of the enemy, some men displayed tremendous gallantry and were awarded medals for their actions.
  • Four of the brave souls awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions were from the great State of Texas.
  • Daniel R. Edwards, born in Mooreville, Texas, was a Private First Class in the U.S. Army on July 18, 1918. His citation reads that on that day near Soissons, France ``..... he crawled alone into an enemy trench for the purpose of capturing or killing enemy soldiers ..... He killed 4 of the men and took the remaining 4 men prisoners.'' While taking them to the rear, an artillery shell shattered one of Edwards' legs. For his actions that day, Pfc. Edwards received the Medal of Honor.
  • David E. Hayden was born in Florence, Texas. He served as a Hospital Apprentice First Class in the U.S. Navy serving with the Marines. On September 15th, 1918, near Thiaucourt, France his brave actions earned himthe Medal of Honor. His citation reads, ``During the advance, when [his comrade in arms] was mortally wounded while crossing an open field swept by machinegun fire, Hayden unhesitatingly ran to his assistance and, finding him so severely wounded as to require immediate attention, disregarded his own personal safety to dress the wound under intense machinegun fire, and then carried the wounded man back to a place ofsafety.''
  • Samuel M. Sampler was born in Decatur, Texas. On October 8, 1918, near St. Etienne, France, the young U.S. Army Corporal became the third Texan in WWI to earn the Medal of Honor. When his company suffered severe casualties during an advance under machinegun fire, ``Cpl. Sampler detected the position of the enemy machineguns ..... Armed with German handgrenades, which he had picked up, he left the line and rushed forward in the face of heavy fire until he was near the hostile nest, where he grenaded the position. His third grenade landed among the enemy, killing 2, silencing the machineguns, and causing the surrender of 28 Germans, who he sent to the rear as prisoners. As a result of his act the company was immediately enabled to resume the advance.''
  • These three Texans who earned the Medal of Honor were among the ones who survived the war.
  • A fourth Texan also earned the Medal of Honor during WWI , but gave his life during the actions for which he earned the medal posthumously.
  • David B. Barkley, of Hispanic descent, was born in 1899 in Laredo, Texas. His father was in the U.S. Army and his mother was a Mexican-American native of South Texas.
  • David enlisted in the Army before his 18th birthday. Not long after, he was sent to the frontlines in France. On November 9, 1918, Private Barkley's actions went above and beyond the call of duty.
  • His Medal of Honor citation reads:
  • ``When information was desired as to the enemy's position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Pvt. Barkley, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return, but before his goal was reached, he was seized with cramps and drowned.''
  • David Barkley's body was not returned home until 1921. His body was laid in state at the Alamo, ``The Cradle of Texas Freedom,'' making him the second person to ever receive that honor, and then buried in San Antonio National Cemetery.
  • His brave actions were acknowledged at home and abroad. He received medals from France and Italy; an elementary school in San Antonio was named in his honor; and, in 1941, Camp Barkley, a WWII Army installation, was named after him.
  • In 1989, the Army recognized Private Barkley as the first Hispanic Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Private Barkley, and the other Medal of Honor recipients from Texas, proudly served their state and country during the First World War, and they will forever be remembered for their brave actions.
  • 100 years later we still remember the Texas boys of WWI , those that served and returned, those that served and returned with the wounds of war, and those that served and did not return.
  • And that's just the way it is.