(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]



                           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.