Looking Back with Thanks and Ahead with Hope

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Dec 23, 2015 No Comments ›› admin

by Congressman Roger Williams

As we approach the new year, it is a great time to reflect on 2015. While the past year has brought much frustration and disappointment from Washington, it is the Texas spirit of resolve, determination and willingness to confront challenges head-on that give me hope for the future. Main gate at the Fort Hood Army Base

November marked six years since the unspeakable tragedy that occurred at Fort Hood.

This year we were finally able to get the Obama Administration to admit the events that transpired on that fateful day were an act of terrorism and not workplace violence.

In April, I attended an emotional ceremony at the Great Place where soldiers and their civilian counterparts received their Purple Hearts and Defense of Freedom medals that were so rightfully deserved. Although we will mourn this day every year, we can go forth knowing that these brave men and women were at last appropriately honored after making the ultimate sacrifice. But the spirit of resolve and determination neither starts nor ends at Fort Hood.

Earlier this year, Texas was in the midst of the most extreme drought in recent memory.

But in a cruel twist of fate, we got too much of what we so desperately needed. While many communities statewide were severely impacted by the flooding, some of the worst damage occurred in the southern portion of the 25th district.

From May, 2015: intense rain and thunderstorms ravaged parts of Texas (Screenshot: NBC News)

From May, 2015: intense rain and thunderstorms ravaged parts of Texas (Screenshot: NBC News)

In what should have been another kickoff to summer marked by barbeques and baseball, many will instead remember this past Memorial Day weekend as the time when the rising waters of the Blanco River ripped through properties and devastated families. As I said at the time, the strong Texas spirit of resolve proved more powerful than Mother Nature’s fury.

Sure enough, the people of Wimberley took care of each other, looked out for their own and pushed forward. Remarkably, one month later, local news stations declared Wimberley was open for business. Today, flattened foundations along the river bring back painful memories, but open signs in restaurants and shops remind us that our willpower rose higher than the floodwaters.

That same individualism remains true when our nation is faced with a threat that our president refuses to identify – radical Islamist extremism.

In July, Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez killed four marines and a sailor when he fired upon two military installations in Tennessee. Inaction from our commander-in-chief prompted Texans to stand watch at military recruiting offices in Cleburne. The group appropriately named themselves Operation Hero Guard.

Our military holds a special place in my heart.

Their selfless devotion to our country is admirable and their humility is something we can all learn from. We are lucky to have such fine men and women in our state, and I am lucky to have them in our district.

In April, I had the pleasure of meeting Richard Overton, the oldest living combat veteran in America. He resides in the same house he purchased when he returned to Austin after World War II. At 109 years old, he is full of life and laughter. During my visit to Fort Hood in April, I was reunited with Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford who was my guest to the State of the Union two years ago. Sgt. Lunsford was shot seven times during the terrorist attack on Fort Hood. He is an inspiration to me, and I am proud to call him my friend.

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams R-TX (Photo: CNN)

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams R-TX (Photo: CNN)

So while I share much disagreement with this current administration and am far too often appalled by its tactics and agenda, I remind myself of my duty to look out for the best interests of the wonderful Texans whom I have the pleasure of serving. Have a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year.

Congressman Williams (R – Austin) represents the 25th congressional district of Texas. Williams serves on the Financial Services Committee and is the chairman of the House Conservatives Fund.

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