WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. thanked veterans for their service in honor of Veterans Day. He recounted the stories of two World War II heroes from Louisiana and thanked staff members who served.
Watch his speech here and read his remarks below:
“In commemoration, celebration and honor of Veterans Day, I’d like to share the stories of two Louisiana heroes who served in World War II: Lucius Forsyth and Robert “Emmett” Stanley – two Louisianans who answered the call to serve and did so, so honorably.
“Lucius Forsyth left his home of Paulina, Louisiana to serve in World War II in his late teens as a US Navy Seaman aboard the USS Saratoga. On February the 21st, 1945, Lucius and the crew of the Saratoga experienced the most concentrated assault of World War II against a warship.
“The Saratoga and her 3,500 sailors fought bravely as the Japanese forces attacked the ship for three hours. Bombs were dropped and five Japanese kamikazes crashed their aircrafts into the Saratoga.
“Seven levels below the main deck, Lucius knew that the impact of a bomb or kamikaze near his location would mean certain death. Ignoring the danger, Lucius continued to work in the compartments adjacent to the ammunition stockpiles. 125 members of the Saratoga lost their lives that day.
“Lucius remained aboard the Saratoga for the rest of the war. After the Japanese surrender, he returned home and married Rita Bourgeois of Gonzales, Louisiana and raised five children, and today is blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“The other veteran I would like to recognize is Robert “Emmett” Stanley. Born in New Orleans in 1923, Emmett left home shortly after graduating from high school to serve the United States. He enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 1943 and served as a Seaman 1st Class on the USS Luce.
“On the morning of May 4th, 1945, one day after Emmett’s 22nd birthday, Japanese kamikaze pilots attacked the USS Luce. Emmett was knocked to the deck as shrapnel pierced his scalp through his steel helmet and fragmented pieces went into his legs. He still feels pain from those injuries today.
“Emmett and other crew members were soon given orders to abandon the USS Luce after more kamikazes struck. Emmett swam 40 yards away from the sinking ship to avoid being sucked under by the waves, but a second explosion forced more shrapnel into his stomach. Out of the 312 men on USS Luce, 126 were killed in the attack. Although eligible then, Emmett did not receive his Purple Heart until October 17th of this year when he was the honoree at the US Navy Birthday Ball. He was thrilled to be surrounded by his entire family.
“Now these are two stories about heroism and valor, but there are many more. Let me brag a little bit for a couple of the young men who work on my staff. One young man, Chris Anderson, enlisted in the Army after completing his college education. He could have pursued business or graduate school, but Chris wanted to serve our country in the War on Terror. He did so bravely and honorably in Afghanistan clearing ordinance. Can you imagine what his mother thought every night, knowing the job he had? Now, he’s a tireless advocate for VA reform so that those he served with can get the care they need and deserve. Another member of my staff back in Baton Rouge, Michael Eby, served in the Louisiana National Guard for 9 years and was awarded the National Defense Medal and the Louisiana War Cross.
“To Lucius, Emmett, Chris, and Michael and all those who served and serve now, thank you for your service. This Veterans Day, and every day, we remember your sacrifices, courage and dedication—ensuring that our children, their children, we all can live in freedom in the greatest nation in the world. May God bless you, your families, and the United States of America.”