Claire McCaskill

Tribute to Norris O'Neil Chandler - Jan. 16, 2009

Claire McCaskill
January 16, 2009— U.S. Senate, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. President, today I recognize Mr. Norris O'Neil Chandler and his lifetime of service to his country and his community. Mr. Chandler was born in Chaffee, MO, on August 11, 1923, and enlisted in the Regular Army at Jefferson Barracks. Following basic training he was assigned to a special amphibious engineering unit activated for World War II--the 149th Engineer Combat Battalion.

Mr. Chandler bravely participated in the monumentally important invasion of France on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, as a demolition specialist for the 149th. He would fight alongside his brethren, all of whom have rightfully become known as the Greatest Generation, from those Normandy beaches all the way to Germany, enduring hardship, tragedy, and triumph along the way. His efforts were one small part of changing the world as the forces of evil that sought to exterminate an entire religion and to deny freedom to so many were defeated. Mr. Chandler returned home, and like so many of his fellow veterans never stopped doing his small part to serve his country nor ever asked for anything in return for his humble service. This type of character cannot be taught, but it certainly can be appreciated. It is the finest exemplar of American values, and I honor Mr. Chandler and his American values today.

More specifically, following his service in WWII, Mr. Chandler became part of the newly activated Organized Reserve Corps, which developed into what is known today as the U.S. Army Reserve. Mr. Chandler continued his service in the Reserve Corps from December 1945 until October 1951, at which point he entered civilian service with the Missouri Military District, 11th Army Corps, St. Louis, MO, where he held various positions. Over 40 years later, Mr. Chandler remains employed by this organization, now known as the Directorate of Logistics-Washington's Media Distribution Division. This sort of longevity, commitment and humble service is hard to even comprehend in today's world, but it is easy to understand when you think of the values of the Greatest Generation that Mr. Chandler exudes.

It is because of people like Mr. Norris O'Neil Chandler that I am so proud to be a Senator representing the State of Missouri. I have even been told that he has more than 3,300 hours of unused sick leave, and has donated much of his annual leave to other employees through the leave donation program. It is because of the generosity and dedication of people like Mr. Chandler that the United States of America is the great Nation that it is.

For 60 years, Mr. Chandler has given so much to his country, his community, and his family, yet demanded so little back. I wish today to give my simple, humble thanks to this American hero. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for those who live their lives like Mr. Chandler. As we honor him today, he is a reminder to all of us of the true value of selfless service, and the impact of that service in our communities, our States, and our country.

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