Sent: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:08 PM
Subject: For Immediate Release: Missouri Senate Mourns the Passing of an American Hero
Missouri Senate Mourns the Passing of an American Hero
“Today I join with the members and staff of the Missouri Senate, both those now serving and the many who have served in the past, to express our deep sorrow at the passing of our friend, John Britton.
Mr. Britton was a fixture in the halls of the Missouri Capitol for nearly a half of a century. He was an amazing individual who was at once a philosopher, poet, Harvard scholar, a zealous advocate for his many clients, and a loving father and husband.
Though never shy about his position on a legislative matter, as is often the case with those who have endured the grim realities of battle, he was reluctant to talk about his service during the Second World War. Though he would never have called himself a hero, that is exactly what he was. As part of the elite 101st Airborne Division, a young John Britton jumped into Nazi-occupied France in the vanguard of the Allied assault on D-Day in June 1944. By December, U.S. forces had battled deep into Belgium where, once again, the 101st was called upon to stop Hitler’s desperate gamble to push back the Allied attack, which came to be known as the “Battle of the Bulge.” In some of the most brutal fighting of the campaign, Mr. Britton and his fellow soldiers, outgunned by German artillery and assailed by extreme winter weather, earned for themselves the right to forever be known as heroes and to assume their place in history among America’s finest.
So today, we mourn the loss of one of Missouri’s favorite sons, a man we were privileged to call a colleague and a friend. Though only those who endured the privations of battle and fought alongside one another in war’s desperate struggle can ever truly belong to the brotherhood among soldiers, we, who enjoy the peace and prosperity brought about by their sacrifice, owe them a great debt of gratitude.
Perhaps author and historian Stephen Ambrose, in telling the story of the 101st Airborne, hit upon the most appropriate tribute that can be paid to the valor and unity shared by these great men, who through their experience forged a bond that we who were not there can never fully comprehend.
‘We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother…And gentlemen in England now abed, Shall think themselves accursed they were not here…whiles any speaks, That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.’
– William Shakespeare (“King Henry V”)
And so in our sorrow, we join together to honor and pay our respects to this man we were privileged to know and resolve to keep the memory of his valor alive.”
Senate Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles
Lauren Hieger , Senate Majority Caucus Communications Director
(573) 751-7266 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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