Friday, June 14, 2013

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy remembers a member of the Greatest Generation in marking Father's Day

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield and House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "This Sunday, fathers, grandfathers and father figures in our communities will be recognized. There is probably no more important responsibility for me than being a dad.

 "I look back at all the great memories I have watching my two children, Connor and Meghan, grow up. And I'm sure most parents can agree, when you have children, your life becomes centered on
ensuring the well-being of your kids. I think of all the things my father did for me - from working on Saturdays moving furniture to help provide for our family to helping me start my deli. He taught me the values of hard work, commitment, and dedication.

 "Many of the fathers and grandfathers in our community were part of the Greatest Generation. I had the honor of meeting one of them recently – a true hero who was a soldier in WWII and also a father and grandfather, former Army Staff Sergeant Raymond Weber to Washington on the most recent Kern County Honor Flight.

 "Over Memorial Day weekend, Ray made the journey from Bakersfield to Washington to see his memorial for the first time. The group was greeted at the airport with handshakes and cheers and Mr. Weber’s family said he was overcome with joy.  Before Ray was able to make it to his memorial, however, he was rushed to the hospital for an emergency surgery.  I had the honor to talk to Ray while he was in the hospital.  He shared with me his stories from the Battle of the Bulge, and what struck me the most was his courage in the face of capture by the Nazis.  He told me that as the German Panzer tanks and infantry approached their position, Ray and his men grabbed nearby fallen tree limbs and camouflaged themselves in their foxholes.  As the tanks drove overhead, their position was finally given away only by the condensation of their breath, rising above the branches.   Ray was taken away at gunpoint and, for the last few months of the war, served as a POW under the Nazis before being liberated by the U.S. Army.

 "Ray never made it back from the hospital, passing away this past Sunday in a Washington-area hospital.  But, before he passed, I was able to present him with a flag that flew over the Capitol in his honor on the anniversary of D-Day and that was walked through the WWII Memorial for him. In the short time that I got to know Ray, I saw the love he had for his country and for his eight children. Four of his children made the trip to Washington, and it was clear how much they admired their father and cherished his stories of courageous moments in battle.  His legacy as a father reminds me of my commitment to family and love for my children.  With Father's Day coming up on Sunday, I am looking forward to spending time with Judy and Meghan and Connor.  I wish all the fathers and caretakers in our community a very Happy Father's Day.


Unknown said...

Nice article! Mr Weber was a great inspiration to many. He had a great attitude and was one of our true heroes.

Unknown said...

Great Article! Ray Weber was an inspiration to us all. We're so glad he got the true heroes welcome in Baltimore that he deserved. One of Americas True Heroes....