Madam Speaker, let us mourn the loss of an American Hero.
Just a short time ago, Captain Drew Jensen succumbed to wounds he received in Iraq.
Drew was critically wounded in combat on May 7, 2007 in the Diyala Province while serving with the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment north of Baghdad.
Captain Jensen was an officer in the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry--it is more commonly known as the "Stryker Brigade."
Forty-eight young soldiers left Fort Lewis and never returned to duty. The Strykers were sent into the toughest neighborhood in Iraq. Their mission was to meet Al Qaeda on its ground and take it back.
It is with a heavy heart the Pacific Northwest welcomes home the Brigade: they served honorably; they left Iraq better than they found it, but the cost was high--the losses irreplaceable.
Captain Jensen knew from an early age he wanted to serve his country: he was a soldier that lived and died with courage, integrity, and selflessness.
As a young man he worked hard and secured for himself the opportunity to attend West Point.
After graduation in 2002, Drew approached the Army with absolute commitment.
Captain Jensen served two combat tours in Iraq--knowing that his men depended upon his willingness to lead from the front and fulfill the call of our Nation.
At home, Stacia did her best to soldier on. An Army family knows the risks of combat. She supported Drew on and off the battlefield through some of the toughest circumstances, the harshest moments any family can encounter.
I ask that we take pause: cease the frenzied activities of modernity for just a moment and reflect upon the sacrifices we are asking of young soldiers like Drew Jensen.
Drew was a casualty of war: he served with distinction, gave his last full measure of devotion, and ultimately sacrificed his life--and his family's future--to answer the call of his men in mortal combat.
Leaders are not born, they are not made--leaders such as Drew Jensen choose.
Drew saw a problem and fixed it. He saw that his men needed help, and he helped. He was a good officer that recognized the burdens of command--an American that made a choice to be a part of something larger--to live a life that mattered.
My colleagues: the legacy of Captain Drew Jensen is a lesson for us all.
Drew made a choice to serve his country; Drew made a choice to serve in Iraq; Drew made a choice to make his community a better place.
There are no words that can heal the wounds of our hearts today; Oregon is far dimmer than it was with Drew a part of our community.
Forever changed are the lives of Stacia, the Jensen Family, and the community of Damascus.
We cannot undo any of the choices that brought us to this moment here, today.
But we can recognize the courage and bravery of one of our own.
We can celebrate the life and legacy of Drew Jensen.
And we can keep his spirit alive through remembering all that he was--all that he meant--all that he believed in.
Let us renew our commitment to making this America, this Oregon, this community a place worthy of such sacrifice.
Let us begin today.