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Madam Speaker, it's with great pride but a heavy heart that I honor a fallen son of Texas tonight, a United States Army soldier from my Second Congressional District.
Staff Sergeant Jesse Ainsworth gave his life fighting terrorists on a battlefield in a far, faraway, desolate land near Kandahar in Afghanistan on July 10, 2010. He died from injuries caused by an IED, the weapon of terrorists, those cowards that hide in their holes in the rugged deserts and come out like rats at night and plant roadside bombs to kill Americans, women, and children.
This is Jesse Ainsworth. He was 24 years of age. He was an American warrior, and he was born in Texas and Jesse was an all American boy. He loved to hunt and fish in the woods near his home in Dayton, Texas. And after attending Dayton High School, he joined the United States Army.
He was a team leader with the 1st Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment of the 10th Mountain Division out of Ft. Drum. Jesse served two combat tours in Iraq before deploying to Afghanistan. And, Madam Speaker, he re-enlisted after his second tour of duty in Iraq and then that is why he went to Afghanistan.
Yesterday, I talked to Jesse's mother, Margeret Hutchins, and she said a lot about her son. They live in a little small community called Kenefic, just outside of Dayton.
Jesse was Margeret's only son. And Margeret said Jesse was her hero. She said she used to pick him up when he was a little kid from kindergarten, and every Friday they'd go to Wal-Mart and buy some toy for him. She said ever since Jesse was an itty bitty fellow he wanted to be a soldier in the United States Army.
And the last time she talked to him, Jesse said he was setting up camp out in the middle of no place in the middle of the desert. And he asked his mother to send him, in the next care package, a Big Red soft drink and some Copenhagen chewing tobacco in that care package. Jesse was all Texas.
Jesse loved the Army, he loved his country, and he loved being a soldier. He was doing what he wanted to do. He was an Army man.
All of the flags in the small town of Dayton, Texas, are flying at half mast this week. There are signs all over this town of just 5,000, handmade signs, electronic signs throughout the community honoring Jesse.
The services will be held on Saturday at the Dayton Community Center, and the whole town will turn out to honor their native son and honor his family.
Jesse is survived by his wife, Sarah; their 6-month old daughter, Lanna Rose; and his daughter, Lexie, who is three; Jesse's mother, Margeret; and stepfather, Eugene; and Jesse's two sisters, Rebecca and Shane.
Jesse will then be buried at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Houston, Texas.
All of his fellow soldiers gave some, Madam Speaker, but Jesse Ainsworth gave all in his defense for freedom.
Our brave troopers go to war defending freedom and liberty in faraway lands. In the dark, cold desert night and the parched, insufferable desert heat, these brave warriors pay with their blood and sacrifice for freedom and liberty and for America.
They sanctify with their blood lands they have never seen, and they fight for people they do not know.
Madam Speaker, I have a recent photograph of Jesse. Here he is in Afghanistan with an Afghan farmer. You see, that's what our American troops are doing. They are the greatest ambassadors for freedom and liberty and the American way in the world. And here they are, here Jesse is with a person in Afghanistan, a nation that Jesse and his fellow troopers are liberating.
Patrick Henry once said, "The battle, sir, is not to the strong, it is to the vigilant, to the active, to the brave."
Madam Speaker, those words still ring true today, and our American soldiers carry those values into battle because they are "Army Strong." Jesse Ainsworth was such a soldier and a family man. He was that hero who has given his life to something bigger than himself.
So when we gather Saturday to honor this fallen American, Jesse's flag-draped coffin will be carried by the Honor Guard. The old war horses of the Patriot Guard, those motorcycle riders made primarily of Vietnam veterans, they will stand vigil over this beloved family and over their sacred fallen brother carrying American flags.
The rifles will fire the 21-gun salute, and the bugle will sound taps for the last time as the name of Staff Sergeant Jesse Ainsworth is placed forever on the hallowed roles of those who have given their lives defending American freedom and liberty. He will be surrounded by his family for the last time, and the war will be over for Staff Sergeant Jesse Ainsworth. But the war will never end for his family.
It has been said what we have done for ourselves dies with us. What we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.
Staff Sergeant Jesse Ainsworth is that rare breed, that American breed that lived and died for something bigger than himself. And today we honor his life and his sacrifice.
And that's just the way it is.
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