Lawmaker says tearful goodbye to father on House floor

"And he was a good guy. He was honest to the core. And he got to live to see me elected to his great House," he added as he held back tears.

Fleischmann said his father grew up during the Great Depression and knew Moe Howard, the comedian who became one of the Three Stooges. "He talked to me about his first Coca Cola at the 1939 World's Fair," Fleischmann said.

With one good eye and standing five-foot-two and one half inch, Fleischmann's father joined the military during World War II. With no education beyond high school, his father would later insist that his son attend college.

"One thing he insisted on, he said 'My son is going to get an education,' " Fleischmann said. "That was so important. And I did. He put twenty bucks away a week so that I could have an education."

Fleischmann said his father then paid for him to attend law school, and said his father's story shows that America is still a great country.

"Ladies and gentleman, we have a great country, a wonderful country," Fleischmann said. "He knew that. Only in America could you do something like this, come from last to first.

"I just wanted to say today, thank you to my dad, Staff Sergeant Max Fleischmann Jr.," he concluded to applause from people in the House chamber. "You did well."