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Honoring Our Armed Forces

Sen. Mike Johanns

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Mr. President, I rise today to remember a fallen hero, U.S. Army SPC Joseph Cemper. Specialist Cemper was based in eastern Afghanistan, in the area east of Kabul bordering Pakistan. This area is one of the areas where the fighting in the Afghan war has been the most intense.

Specialist Cemper was serving with the 101st Special Troops Battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, one of the Army's most elite units. He and four fellow American soldiers were killed in a suicide attack that ultimately took 10 lives.

Specialist Cemper had a long desire to serve his country, and was rightfully proud of his commitment to defend and to protect.

He is mourned by his parents, three sisters, two brothers, a fiancee, and an infant son Liam. I know his family is proud of him, and will always remember his spirit, enthusiasm, competitiveness, and can-do attitude. They are the type of American family that constitute the pillars of our Armed Forces, and are the reason our Nation remains safe from its enemies.

Joseph's father, SFC Eugene Cemper, has made service to the Army his life's work. As an Army recruiter, Sergeant Cemper had the unique experience of personally recruiting his son into the Army.

As a father and a leader, Sergeant Cemper inspired both Specialist Cemper and his younger brother, PFC Noah Cemper, to wear the uniform of an American soldier with pride.

The Cemper family laid their son to rest in Papillion, NE, on April 29, 2011. Specialist Cemper returned to his birthplace with valor and honor having been awarded both the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medals.

I know I speak for all Nebraskans, and all Americans, when I say that despite our sorrow, we are deeply honored to have him.

I cannot imagine the pain the Cemper family is suffering today. The loss unexpectedly of a son in combat is one of the most extreme trials a parent or loved one could face. I know, at this point, my words cannot ease their hurt.

So I will end this tribute by saying what Specialist Cemper held close to his heart, so close that his family has inscribed it in a scrapbook which will one day be seen by his son. It reads:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say that I used everything you gave me.

I hope he rests knowing that he died the bravest and most honorable death an American could. May God bless the Cemper family, their father and son still serving in the Armed Forces, and all our fighting men and women in harm's way.

I yield the floor. I suggest the absence of a quorum.

The clerk will call the roll.

The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.

Sen. Jeff Sessions

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Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

Sen. Jeff Sessions

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Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that I be allowed to speak for up to 15 minutes.

Without objection, it is so ordered.

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