July 20, 2020 - Issue: Vol. 166, No. 127 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 2nd Session
HONORING SARA MANISCALCO ROBINSON AS IOWAN OF THE WEEK; Congressional Record Vol. 166, No. 127
(Extensions of Remarks - July 20, 2020)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Page E650] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HONORING SARA MANISCALCO ROBINSON AS IOWAN OF THE WEEK ______ HON. CYNTHIA AXNE of iowa in the house of representatives Monday, July 20, 2020 Mrs. AXNE. Madam Speaker, as we near Independence Day, I am reflecting on all of the selfless contributions and sacrifices our servicemembers have made for our country since July 4, 1776. That is why today, I rise to ask the House of Representatives to join me in recognizing Sara Maniscalco Robinson, the Executive Director and Founder of Iowa Veterans' Perspective, as our Iowan of the Week. Veterans' Perspective is a nonprofit Sara launched to help preserve our nation's history through the stories of our hometown heroes through veteran interviews. Without Veterans' Perspectives there to capture the memories and experiences of our veterans, who knows how many valuable stories of courage and heroism might have been lost to history. They capture these stories to ensure they are preserved for future generations, all--thanks to the work of one selfless Iowa veteran. Sara's passion and vision in creating Veterans' Perspective comes from the experiences in her own life. She attended Boone High School and was active in its student newspaper. Right after graduation, Sara joined the National Guard and began a military career in public affairs and journalism with the reserves. 1st Sergeant Maniscalco Robinson served more than 20 years, including two deployments and travel to locations including Kosovo and El Salvador, and completed with honor and distinction. In 2007, Sara began volunteering some of her time to conduct interviews of Iowa veterans for Iowa's Gold Star Museum. Her journalistic instincts and service record allowed Sara to speak freely and frankly with veterans about some of the most challenging moments of their service, collecting their experiences so that civilians and the general public could better understand the service and sacrifice these servicemembers have given to our country. She interviewed Iowa veterans about their experiences in Vietnamese POW camps, the brutal tours of the Korean War, and the everyday heroism as told-by Iowa's World War II veterans. What began as a volunteering opportunity for Sara turned into a mission to capture and preserve these remarkable stories before we lose the voices of those who carry them. Sara herself highlighted one veteran story that stands out among the many she has heard, the one that she credits for inspiring her journey into creating Veterans' Perspective. Larry Spenser was a POW in Vietnam, captured and imprisoned at the infamous ``Hanoi Hilton'' for 7 years. Larry had no access to the outside world--he didn't know what day, time, month, or even year it was. In his interview with Sara, he explained that in their custody, the prisoners of war fell into two camps: those who believed that they would never escape, and those who believed that every single day was the day they would escape. In the former, Larry explained, you were right every day but one--but the latter, you were wrong every single day, save one. Stories like these, stories of trial, turmoil, and tenacity, are preserved thanks to the work of Sara and her team. After 10 years as a volunteer at the Iowa Gold Star Museum, Sara founded Iowa Veterans' Perspective in 2017 to continue sharing the stories of veterans online for everyone to see. It is because of Sara's continued service to her state and country that thousands of veterans' voices live on, preserved for future generations to better understand the cost of freedom. On Independence Day, we celebrate our great nation and the veterans whose sacrifices have preserved it in the face of great challenges. On this Fourth of July, as we think of our nation's history and those veterans who have played a critical role in shaping our shared future, we have ways of hearing their stories and remembering those sacrifices because of the selfless work everyday heroes like Sara have done to keep it for us. It is my honor to recognize 1st Sergeant Sara Maniscalco Robinson as this week's Iowan of the Week. ____________________