(Senate - March 04, 1998)

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[Page S1353]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

[[Page S1353]]

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN (for herself, Mrs. Boxer, Mrs. Hutchison, Mr. Durbin, 
and Mr. Santorum) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which 
was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary:

                            S. Con. Res. 79

       Whereas on August 2, 1944, a squadron of P-51s from the 
     United States 364th Fighter Group strafed a German munitions 
     train in Remy, France;
       Whereas the resulting explosion killed Lieutenant Houston 
     Braly, one of the attacking pilots, and destroyed much of the 
     village of Remy, including 7 stained glass windows in the 
     13th century church;
       Whereas, despite threats of reprisals from the occupying 
     German authorities, the citizens of Remy recovered Lieutenant 
     Braly's body from the wreckage, buried his body with dignity 
     and honor in the church's cemetery, and decorated the grave 
     site daily with fresh flowers;
       Whereas on Armistice Day, 1995, the village of Remy renamed 
     the crossroads near the site of Lieutenant Braly's death in 
     his honor;
       Whereas the surviving members of the 364th Fighter Group 
     desire to express their gratitude to the brave citizens of 
     Remy; and
       Whereas, to express their gratitude, the surviving members 
     of the 364th Fighter Group have organized a nonprofit 
     corporation to raise funds, through its project ``Windows for 
     Remy'', to restore the church's stained glass windows: Now, 
     therefore, be it
       Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives 
     concurring), That Congress--
       (1) commends the bravery and honor of the citizens of Remy, 
     France, for their actions with respect to the American 
     fighter pilot Lieutenant Houston Braly during and after 
     August 1944; and
       (2) recognizes the efforts of the surviving members of the 
     United States 364th Fighter Group to raise funds to restore 
     the stained glass windows of Remy's 13th century church.

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise today to submit a resolution on 
behalf of myself, Senator Boxer, Senator Hutchison, Senator Durbin, and 
Senator Santorum, to commemorate the acts of kindness of the residents 
of Remy, France afforded World War II Army Air Corps pilot Lieutenant 
Houston Braly. While these deeds occurred more than fifty years ago, 
the story of this young pilot is carried on in the hearts and minds of 
the people of Remy. Now the friends and comrades of Lt. Braly have 
joined together to show their appreciation in a most sincere gesture of 
  On August 2, 1944, Lt. Braly's squadron of P-51 fighters on patrol in 
northern France encountered a German munitions train. The squadron made 
three unsuccessful attack runs at the train, which was almost 
impossible to see because of camouflage. On the fourth run, however, 
Lt. Braly's fire hit a car carrying explosives, causing a tremendous 
  Airplanes circling 13,000 feet over the battle were hit by shrapnel 
from the train. Haystacks in fields some distance away were seen 
burning, and nearly all buildings in the small French town were 
demolished. The 13th century church in the town of Remy barely escaped 
destruction, but the historic stained-glass windows were destroyed.
  The explosion also claimed the life of Lt. Braly, who was only 
twenty-two years old on that tragic day.
  Despite the near total destruction of the small town, the residents 
of Remy regarded that young American as a hero. A young woman pulled 
Braly's body from the burning wreck of the plane, wrapped him in the 
nylon of his parachute, and placed him in the town's courtyard. 
Hundreds of villagers showered the site with flowers, stunning the 
German authorities. Threats of reprisals were made if the tributes 
continued, but eventually the authorities agreed that a small, private 
burial could be performed in the church's cemetery.
  The next morning it was discovered that despite the potentially 
severe consequences, villagers had once again paid tribute to the young 
pilot. The covert placement of flowers on Lt. Braly's grave continued 
until American forces liberated Remy to the cheers of the townspeople. 
American soldiers were led to Lt. Braly's grave, which was marked by 
the bent propeller of his P-51 fighter.
  Nearly 50 years later, Steven Lea Vell of Danville, California, came 
across this story during the course of research he was doing at the Air 
Force Archives in Alabama. Mr. Lea Vell was so moved by the story that 
he visited Remy, France, only to find that the stained glass windows of 
the magnificent 13th century church which were destroyed in the 
explosion had not been replaced. Mr. Lea Vell contacted various members 
of the 364th Fighter Group, under which Lt. Braly had served. These 
veterans had heard the stories of how the residents of Remy had honored 
their fallen friend. They joined together to form Windows for Remy, a 
non-profit organization working to raise $200,000 to replace the 
stained glass windows to repay the town for their distinguished actions 
toward Lt. Braly.
  Mr. President, the residents of Remy have not forgotten the story of 
that young American pilot. On Armistice Day, November 11, 1995, fifty 
years after the war ended, the town of Remy paid tribute once more to 
Lt. Braly. On that day they renamed the crossroads where he perished to 
``Rue de Houston L. Braly, Jr.''
  I am confident that my fellow senators will join me in commending the 
people of Remy, France for their kindness and recognize the friends and 
former comrades of Lt. Braly for their efforts to pay back this debt of