Victims' Rights Caucus



Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride and a heavy heart that I speak today of a young marine from my district in Texas who gave his life while fighting the terrorists in Afghanistan.

Marine Sergeant Brandon Bury was killed on Sunday, June 6 during combat operations in Kabul. This is a photograph of this marvelous marine. He leaves behind his wife, Heather, and his two young sons, Cole, who is 3-years-old, and Cade, who is 1.

Brandon was on his third tour of duty. He previously served two deployments in Iraq, and he left for Afghanistan this April as part of a team training Afghan police.

He was 26 years of age and a 2002 graduate of Kingwood High School in Texas. In his 26 short years, Brandon lived a lifetime of service to other people.

I talked to Brandon's mom, Terri, this week. She told me that Brandon had just called her, and he had asked her to send him gifts for the local Afghanistan children in his next care package. Brandon, always thinking about ways to do something for somebody else.

I have been to Afghanistan and, let me tell you something, Mr. Speaker, those Afghani kids love American warriors. They love our troops, and I have seen how they react to those troops firsthand.

Marines like Brandon are the reason why. They are the best ambassadors for liberty and freedom that there are in the world because, you see, Americans never go to conquer. They go to liberate. They go to lands they have never seen, and they fight for people they have never known.

Brandon's mom and dad, Terri and Bryan Bury, now live in Dallas, Texas, with his two brothers. I met Brandon 2 years ago at a 4th of July celebration in Kingwood. He stood 6 foot 6 and he was all marine. He was an impressive individual, and his friends say even back in middle school Brandon knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be a United States marine.

He volunteered for the Marine Corps. He could have been an officer, but he wanted to be an enlisted man so he could be on the ground with other such marines.

You know, Mr. Speaker, there is nothing like a U.S. marine. They go into the desert of the gun and the valley of the sun. They go where others fear to tread and the timid are not found.

These young warriors make great sacrifices today in the heat and the dust and the deserts and the rough, rugged mountains of Afghanistan. They track down those terrorists wherever they try to hide.

There have been 10 Texas warriors killed this year in Afghanistan, four from the Houston area. In our congressional district in Texas, there have been a total of 29 warriors killed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It has been said that wars may be fought by weapons, but they are won by warriors. Brandon Bury was an American warrior. He was a hero in the tradition of our great men and women who defend the flag and liberty. It is America's warriors who pay the price for our freedom.

In America's first war fighting for freedom, Patrick Henry said, ``The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, and to the brave.'' We are fortunate that these words still ring true today and that Americans like Brandon carry those values into battle.

While we mourn the loss of Brandon Bury, we should thank God that a man like him ever lived.

Killed with Sergeant Bury were Lance Corporal Derek Hernandez, 20, of Edinburg, Texas, and Corpor