(House of Representatives - October 13, 2011)

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[Pages H6860-H6861]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
California (Mr. McClintock) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Speaker, 40 years from now, a beloved high school 
history teacher at Tahoe High School named Garrett Fant should be 
celebrating his retirement surrounded by generations of his students 
and his children and grandchildren. They would have all told 
affectionate stories about how Mr. Fant inspired them or helped them 
and wished him a happy and well-deserved retirement.
  Unfortunately, history has willed a different story. Army Specialist 
Garrett Fant instead returned to Lake Tahoe last week as a fallen hero 
at the age of 21. This young man sacrificed all those years, all those 
memories, all those pleasures--and all that life--in the service of his 
  He loved the Army, and he had a plan for his life--he'd serve his 
country as a soldier for 20 years, and then he would come and serve his 
community as a high school history teacher. From everything I've 
learned about Garrett

[[Page H6861]]

Fant, he would have made a great history teacher. His mother told a 
reporter, ``His thought was that high school was the last stop for 
kids, and he wanted to influence people.''
  He'd have made a great family man. His older brother remembers 
looking up to Garrett as if Garrett were the older brother. Knowing 
full well the dangers that surrounded him in Afghanistan, his foremost 
attention went to reassuring his family that he was safe and secure. 
His mother said, ``He always tried to protect me from the dangers of 
being over there. He was just someone that, if you were his family or 
his friends--or his country--he gave you his all and loved you with 
  Above all, Garrett Fant wanted to be a soldier. His brother tried to 
get him to enlist with him in the Navy, but Garrett would have none of 
that. He was all Army and had known from the time he was a little boy 
that's what he most wanted to do. On Facebook, he listed his occupation 
as ``grunt,'' telling his friends, ``You can't spell Infantry without 
`Fant.' '' He was the top marksman in his class of 1,000.
  I wish I'd known him. I wish my grandchildren might one day have been 
his high school history students. Instead, Army Specialist Garrett Fant 
takes his place in history, among nine generations of American heroes 
who sacrificed all those precious years to protect those who couldn't 
protect themselves, to stand up to the bullies of the world, ``to 
proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants 
  In his farewell address at West Point, General Douglas MacArthur 
turned his attention to fallen heroes like Army Specialist Garrett 
Fant, and with searing insight he observed, ``Their story is known to 
all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms. My estimate of 
him was formed on the battlefields many, many years ago and has never 
changed. I regarded him then as I regard him now, as one of the world's 
noblest figures; not only as one of the finest military characters, but 
also as one of the most stainless.
  ``His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen. In 
his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that 
mortality can give. He needs no eulogy from me, or any other man.''
  And MacArthur goes on to say, ``But when I think of his patience 
under adversity, of his courage under fire, and his modesty in victory, 
I am filled with an emotion of admiration I cannot put into words.
  ``He belongs to history as furnishing one of the greatest examples of 
successful patriotism. He belongs to posterity as the instructor of 
future generations in the principles of liberty and freedom.''
  And so Garrett Fant became a teacher after all. As Shakespeare said, 
``this story shall the good man teach his son.'' Succeeding generations 
of students at South Lake Tahoe High School and also at Valley Oak High 
School in American Canyon, which Garrett also attended, will know his 
story. Every Memorial Day in his hometown, his name will be read with a 
special pride that his friends and neighbors will share. Strangers will 
pass by his honored grave, adorned with flags and flowers, and they'll 
note the few years he had and the sacrifice he made and be humbled by 
it and perhaps inspired by it to become better citizens. No history 
teacher can do more than that.
  To his grieving family, on behalf of a grateful Nation, I can only 
say that you do not mourn alone. Your pride in Garrett is shared by 
your community, by your country, and by many, many history teachers who 
will tell his story to the latest American generation.