FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 5, 2019
Contact: Sharon Eliza Nichols
Rep. Barragán to Join Bipartisan Congressional Delegation to Commemorate 75th Anniversary of D-Day
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44) will travel to Normandy, France, as part of a bipartisan congressional delegation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The delegation will depart today and return on Sunday.
Rep. Barragán made the announcement yesterday in remarks from the House floor in a speech that honored the participation of soldiers of Hispanic descent in the D-Day invasion.
“This week I have the honor of traveling to the beaches of Normandy, France, along with a Congressional delegation, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on the exact site where over 2,500 brave Americans were to, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, give their last full measure of devotion. Several among those fallen were some of the nearly 500,000 Latino soldiers who served in World War II,” said Rep. Barragán on the House floor.
This trip will be something of a homecoming for Rep. Barragán, who first visited the beaches of Normandy in 1996 during a private trip to tour the famed and decisive World War II battle site.
“It was such a deeply moving experience that I vowed on the spot to one day return again”, said Rep. Barragán. “I never dreamed it would be as a United States Congresswoman, but the fact that I find myself returning as part of our country’s official delegation to honor those fallen, makes a meaningful return even more so.”
Transcript of Rep. Barragán’s remarks on the House floor:
“Mr. Speaker, this week I have the honor of traveling to the beaches of Normandy, France, along with a Congressional delegation, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day on the exact site where over 2,500 brave Americans were to, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, give their last full measure of devotion.
Several among those fallen were some of the nearly 500,000 Latino soldiers who served in World War II. By the end of that war, 17 Mexican-Americans received the Congressional Medal of Honor — a source of great pride for the Latino community and a legacy of honor that has continued throughout modern history which now counts 60 Medals of Honor awarded to soldiers of Hispanic heritage.
Among the military units with Hispanic representation that participated in the D-Day invasion was the Army 79th Infantry Division, which landed at Utah Beach. The D-day forces included men like Nick Alvarez, from California, who led a tank crew that broke through the German defenses that day – helping to put the allies on the offensive, and ultimately help lead to the fall of Nazi Germany.
Those D-Day forces also included Private Andrew Ortega, from Anaheim, California, who was one of the very first American’s to land on Omaha beach as part of a team of engineers tasked with finding and neutralizing land mines ahead of the infantrymen taking part in the assault. Under relentless fire from German guns, Private Ortega searched for and defused land mines no bigger than eggs. His heroic efforts in the face of horrific danger no doubt saved countless American lives.
As we make ready to honor all the troops participating in the D-Day invasion, I’d like to make special mention of Private Luis Martin, who was a resident of my home district in Wilmington California, and who is pictured here in this photo provided by his family.
Private Martin was born in Deming, New Mexico in 1914. And moved to Wilmington as a young adult. By the time Luis was drafted into the Army, he was married and had a two year-old daughter. Luis was a member of the US Army 1st Infantry Division which landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. And it was there, on the sands of that beach, 75 years ago, that Private Martin gave is life — for the freedom of his family, and his countryman, and for future generations of Americans. We, as a nation, are forever indebted to him. And it gives me great pride to have him remembered here today.
I would like to thank those that served. And I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Private Martin’s family and friends. And to thank Private Martin, and all those members of the armed forces who so bravely fought, and so gallantly sacrificed their lives, in the service of our nation during the D-Day invasion.
It is with the greatest appreciation for their courage, and determination, and fierce belief in this nation — for which it stands — that I pay tribute to those fallen soldiers today. And it is in their honor that I pledge to endeavor, within this body, to strive ever-harder to fulfill the promise of this nation — proposed by our founders and paid for with the blood of soldiers like those who fell 75 years ago on the sands of Normandy.”
Full video of the floor speech can be found here.
Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington.