Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., was absent from Washington on Tuesday, attending funeral services for his father in Plainville, Kan.
Raymond Edwin Moran died on June 6. He was 98.
The senator often spoke of his father, an Army veteran who served as a staff sergeant in North Africa and Italy during World War II. On the day before his dad's death, Moran paid tribute to him as part of a Senate floor speech marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day. After an emotional plea for a bipartisan solution to the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Moran talked about his appreciation for the war memorials around the District. Text from the Congressional Record is below:
"Finally, let me conclude by saying that the World War II Memorial is special to me," he said. "I have a 98-year-old father home in Plainville, Kansas, a World War II veteran. I walked up to the World War II Memorial 10 years ago, just a few days before it was being dedicated, and I wanted to see what it was going to look like. It was an inspiring moment. I happened to have my cell phone with me and I walked over to the Kansas pillar and thought about those who served our country in that war, including my dad back home. I walked away from the memorial and used my cell phone to call my dad at home. The message I delivered to my dad that day was: 'Dad, I am at the World War II Memorial. It is a memorial built for you. Dad, I want you to know that I thank you for your service. I respect you and I love you.'
"That conversation, fortunately, took place on an answering machine and not in person, and was easier to deliver, although a few minutes later my cell phone rang and it was my dad, who said, 'Gerald, you left me a message, but I couldn't understand it. Could you tell me again?'
"The point I want to make is, we are called upon as American citizens and certainly as members of the Senate to do all that is possible to demonstrate that we thank our veterans for their service, we respect them, and we love them. The Senate needs to rise to the occasion and not let the partisan politics of this place and this country divide us in a way in which we only symbolically respond but the end result is that we fail those who served, and we fail our veterans who depend upon us just as we have depended upon them for their service to our country."
Raymond Moran visited the World War II memorial in September 2008. He was among a group of veterans who boarded a jet from Kansas in to take an Honor Flight to the memorial.