I was honored to be part of the opening statements. The Rules Committee asked three of us to speak, and three veterans. I think it is important to note that there are forty nine new faces in Congress, but there are five new veterans. Every single one of the veterans that are new to Congress is a Democrat.

I stood there with two other ones: Joe Sestak from Pennsylvania—Admiral Sestak—a guy who was responsible for thirty ships and fifteen thousand salaries of marines, and Sgt. Major Tim Walz from the Army National Guard in Minnesota for 24 years, the backbone of the Army. That was the opening statement to make sure we were clear on how important this was.

I also still admire other military veterans today, people like Allen Boyd (D) from Florida, who was a platoon leader in the 101st Airborne Division, another paratrooper, Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), a Vietnam veteran, a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne Division. I served as a captain with the 82nd Airborne Division, so we have a tight little fraternity here, and it happens that all three of us are Blue Dogs, but we were all clearly against escalation of troops.