Honoring Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee
Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor honoring the selfless service of Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee from Roseville, CA
Honoring Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee
September 21, 2021
Every American knows the image of George Washington crossing the Delaware, the fallen rifleman at Gettysburg, the marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima. Our history is punctuated with moments of individual heroism and virtue so profound and moving that they live forever in the memories of our countrymen and the story of our country.
To these iconic images, history has added another: that of a young Marine Sergeant in full combat gear, cradling a helpless infant in her arms amidst the unfolding chaos and peril at the besieged Kabul Airport and proclaiming, “I love my job.”
The entire story of the War in Afghanistan is told in that image: the sacrifices born by young Americans who volunteered to protect their country from international terrorism; the heroism of those who served their country even when their country failed them; the idealism of a generation that tried to bring enlightened modernity to an afflicted society. And most of all, the stark contrast between good and evil; tyranny and freedom; barbarity and justice; brutality and mercy.
Above all others, this is the image that describes it all. It is given power and immortality by the spirit of the young woman in that photo, Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee.
Through the ages to come, this picture will speak of the sacrifice of blood and treasure of 20 years of struggle, and of the vision of hope, liberty, justice and humanity that summoned patriots like Nicole Gee to leave their homes and families and to place themselves in harms way on the other side of the world.
As Shakespeare put it, “This story shall the good man teach his son.” Historians looking back on this age, will find its story summarized in this single picture and illustrated in the life, dreams and sacrifice of Nicole Gee.
They will note that her life ended just days after the image was taken, at the age of just 23 years. They will remember that this angelic young lady was cut down with 12 of her brothers and sisters by incarnate, insensate evil. They will ponder where that young life might have led.
It’s an important question and the answer is known to all who knew her. She could have done anything she wanted. Married to her high school sweetheart, a 4.1 GPA at Oakmont High School, “One pretty bad-ass marine,” as her sister put it. She could have done anything she wanted. And what she wanted most was to serve her country and serve humanity. Who else but a guardian angel, amidst the chaos and violence of those last days in Kabul -- could look beyond all that and into the eyes of an infant and proclaim, “I love my job.”
Speaking of the fallen heroes of past wars, James Michener asked the haunting question, “Where do we get such men?” Here is the answer: We get such men and women from little towns across America like Roseville, California. They leave their family and friends in pursuit of the highest virtues of which human beings are capable. And they do it because their country asks them and because it is noble.
I don’t know how to offer condolences to Nicole’s family; to her husband Jarod, her father Rick, her sister Misty, her family and friends. The loss they bear is beyond my comprehension.
I can only offer my awe and gratitude that humanity has within itself a small band of brothers and sisters like Nicole Gee. For without them, America, that “last best hope of mankind on this earth,” would not be possible.
A few steps from here in the Rotunda is a fresco called the “Apotheosis of Washington.” It depicts Gen. Washington, in uniform, ascending to the heavens, flanked by victory and freedom, and surrounded by the essence and fruits of a free nation. And in that depiction, Washington beckons.
From little towns like Roseville, California, decent young men and women with promising futures like Nicole Gee have answered. And I don’t know how their families can bear it.
But I do know what we owe them. Before her father left the stage at a community memorial, he had one request. He pleaded, “never forget her please, never forget her.”
We can never repay that debt, except to honor her memory, keep her sacrifice always in mind, and to draw inspiration from her dedication and devotion to God and Country – to ALL those who sacrificed everything “To proclaim liberty throughout all the land, and unto all the inhabitants thereof.”