Mr. Speaker, Liberty, Texas, is one of the oldest towns in Texas. It was founded in 1831 and named Liberty before Texas was an independent nation in 1836. This town has sent many young men off to war.
Today the town of Liberty laid to rest one of its favorite sons. The streets of this small town were lined with American flags. People came outside their homes and businesses to pay honor and tribute to a hometown hero. Some people stood erect with their hands over their hearts or saluting as the funeral procession went by. As the process passed Liberty High School and the middle school, students from both schools lined the streets with flags, tears and signs that said Thank You.
Hundreds of citizens in this community turned out to honor 22-year-old Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris of the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Speaker, this is what people in southeast Texas do when one of their own is killed in combat.
Jeremy was killed on October 8, 2007, while conducting combat operations in al-Anbar Province in Iraq. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Pendleton, California.
I've talked to Jeremy's proud father, Brent Burris. He said his son was driving a military vehicle and was accompanied by two other Marines when the vehicle hit an IED, that's an improvised explosive device, hidden in the road.
Lance Corporal Burris survived the initial blast and helped the other two wounded Marines from the vehicle. Then Jeremy returned to the vehicle to retrieve sensitive equipment when a second bomb detonated and Lance Corporal Burris was killed.
Mr. Speaker, it's not uncommon that our enemy sets a second delayed bomb explosion because they know Marines will always return for their wounded or dead or sensitive equipment from their damaged vehicles. This is how these cowards of the desert conduct war against our troops. They do so remotely. They won't come out in the open and fight because they fear the Marines and the Marine reputation.
General Black Jack Pershing, United States Army, and Commander of the United States forces in World War I, said of the Marines, The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine with a rifle. He was correct. Marines are a rare breed with dogged determination and put fear in the souls of our enemy.
Burris was a proud Marine. He was an unapologetic person of faith, and he attended the nondenominational church, Cornerstone Church, where he led worship and praise sessions for youth groups.
He loved Texas. His church pastor said today at the funeral, No one had better say anything negative about his home State of Texas. And on Jeremy's Myspace page he wrote, Born and raised in Texas and proud of it.
Lance Corporal Burris believed totally in his mission in Iraq. He said he was not afraid to die, and he joined the Marines a year and a half ago knowing he would go off to war. He told his youth minister he would rather die young while he was able to give 100 percent than grow old and not be able to give that 100 percent. Amazing man, this young gun of the United States Marine Corps.
In a letter to Jeremy's father, Sergeant Drabicki, Jeremy's section leader in the Marines in Iraq said this about him: Your son is a hero to all of us, especially me. He touched my heart and my soul in ways that I could never forget. Your son was the most loyal, hard-working, dedicated and selfless Marine that I had in my section, and his loss is felt by all of us. He never complained. He never faltered. He never quit, and it was my honor to lead your son in combat.
Mr. Speaker, I want to say this about the United States Marine Corps. They are the very best at what they do. They always have been. Army Major General Frank Lowe said in the Korean War, The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they can fight.
Marine Lance Corporal Burris was one of those types of fighting men. They go where others fear to tread. They fight where the timid are nowhere to be found.
Mr. Speaker, this is a photograph of Lance Corporal Burris right before he was killed. And so the bugler has played taps for the final time for this lance corporal of the United States Marine Corps. And as his flag-draped coffin was laid to rest today in the small town of Liberty, Texas, red, white and blue balloons filled the air, a 21-gun salute was fired, and white doves flew into the heavens.
Ronald Reagan said this about the United States Marines: Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines, they don't have that problem.
Mr. Speaker, Jeremy Burris was one of those Marines. So Semper Fi, Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris. Semper Fi.
And that's just the way it is.
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