Wednesday, July 10, 2013

WATCH: Jeff Flake and John McCain On Senate Floor Speaking About Granite Mountain Hotshots; Senate Passes Resolution Honoring Yarnell 19

Arizona's Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain spoke on the Senate floor this afternoon about the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed fighting the Yarnell Hill fire on June 30, and the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution honoring the wildfire firefighters.  The text of Senate Resolution 193 is not yet available, but will be posted here once it is.

Text of Flake's remarks:
“I rise today with a heavy heart to remember 19 brave men, 19 grieving families, and 19 empty places in the Prescott community that will never be filled. Arizona, and the whole nation, shares in their sorrow.
The loss of these members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and the loss to the community, was both terrible and swift. We are right to ask why.
Why were they taken from us? And why would these seemingly fearless men, these exemplars of all that is brave and good and decent in men, choose a job that causes them to run into an inferno that everyone else is running away from it?
In answering that, we get at the essence of who they were, these 19 lives of achievement and purpose, courage and discipline.
From all corners of America, they came together in Prescott with a single goal in mind: protecting people and property.
To do this, they trained relentlessly and willingly took on the worst that Mother Nature could throw at them, all to save lives and homes of friends and neighbors. They did so accepting the risks – embracing them, even – in the words of an old hymn “calm in distress, in danger bold.”
They did so in the name of community.
Americans are characterized around the world by our sense of communal spirit, civic duty and service to others. This is what makes us who we are.
And those characteristics describe perfectly the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots. They were not merely given the gratitude and respect of the citizens of Prescott – they earned it. They earned all of our admiration, and respect as well.
Now, in that same communal spirit, we must help their families that carry the weary load.
Grief is a lonely thing. But to those who are grieving for a husband or a son, know that millions of us are thinking of you and praying for your hearts, that they find solace and comfort.
To the children of these men, carry deep inside you the knowledge that they were as proud of you as you are of them.
This band of 19 embodied what is best about our country. I am honored that they were, in the end, Arizonans. We should all be proud to live in a community and a state and a nation built on the kind of guts and selflessness that these men personify.
Today we are all, in the words of A.E. Housman, “townsmen of a stiller town.” May God bless the souls of these 19 brave men.
Senator McCain and I had the privilege yesterday to travel out with the vice president, two cabinet secretaries, and other members of Congress, to a memorial service for these brave 19. It was an incredible experience, to see a community come together as it did. Townspeople, people from across the state, form across the country, and people across the world sending their condolences for these men.
We are so fortunate to live in a country like this. Senator McCain and I are so fortunate to be Arizonans. And we are fortunate to witness what we have witnessed in the past couple of weeks.
I am pleased to help ring this resolution to help honor these men to the floor.”

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