Senator Stabenow: Veterans Day Floor Statement

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

U.S. Senator Stabenow paid tribute to Michigan veterans, including Medal of Honor recipient James McCloughan, in advance of Veterans Day.


Text of her Floor Statement:


Mr. President: I rise today to reflect on Veterans Day and the debt of gratitude each of us owes those who are willing to serve our country in our armed forces.


Each year I have the honor of attending Veterans Day events across Michigan. And at each parade, commemoration and solemn ceremony, I am struck not only by the profound patriotism of our veterans, but by their deep humility and lasting dedication to serving others.


One amazing example of this is Jim McCloughan of South Haven. In May of 1969, he was 23 years old and far from home, serving as a medic in Vietnam after being drafted into the Army.


The orders were to attack Nui Yon Hill. However, Private First Class McCloughan and his company were surrounded by more than 2,000 enemy fighters. Over two days of battle, PFC McCloughan put himself in danger time and time again in order to rescue his fallen brothers.


His head and arm were bloodied by shrapnel and small-arms fire. Yet he refused to stop. When the battle was over, he had saved the lives of 10 members of his company.


PFC McCloughan received the Combat Medical Badge, two Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars with “V” device for valor, and The U. S. Army Valorous Unit Citation, among other awards. He was a hero in every sense of the word. However, he remained focused on only one thing: How he could best serve others. And that’s just what he did.


Jim McCloughan returned home and taught and coached at South Haven High School until retiring in 2008. That might have been where his story ended had it not been for his one-time platoon leader, Lt. Randall J. Clark.


Lt. Clark never forgot about PFC McCloughan’s heroism and worked tirelessly to get him the recognition he had earned. In 2016, I passed a bill to make PFC McCloughan eligible for our nation’s highest military honor. And in July, I was honored to be at the White House as PFC McCloughan was finally awarded the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump.


Jim McCloughan’s story is extraordinary, but he’s not alone. Across our nation – and throughout our history – people of common backgrounds and uncommon courage have put their lives on the line in defense of our nation. And time and again, these brave men and women have come home only to continue serving – in our schools, churches, elected offices, and civic organizations.


Veterans like Jim owe us nothing and keep giving us everything. It’s our solemn duty to keep our promises to them. Like Lt. Clark, we must continue working to provide them all that they’ve earned, whether it’s health care, education, the chance at a good job, or the Medal of Honor.


“I’m humbled, very humbled,” Jim McCloughan said about receiving his award. “And, of course – as many individuals who are blessed to receive something like this – I’m receiving it for all of my men.”


The spirit of service lives on in Jim McCloughan, in Lt. Clark, and in our veterans in Michigan and across this nation. On this Veterans Day, we remember them, we thank them, and we renew our commitment to serving them.


Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.