CHEYENNE, Wyo. -— Wyoming’s United States Sen. Cynthia Lummis delivered a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday in tribute to fallen Marine Lance Corporal Rylee McCollum, who was among 13 service members killed on August 26 in a suicide bombing at the Kabul, Afghanistan airport as they helped with evacuation efforts during the U.S. pullout of the 20-year war.
Lummis talked about the birth of McCollum’s daughter during the speech. His wife Gigi Crayton gave birth to Levi Rylee Rose McCollum early Monday morning at Camp Pendleton in California.
“Although she will never meet her father, who was killed before she was born, she will be surrounded by love from mother Gigi, proud grandfather Jim McCollum, Rylee’s sisters and many other relatives who will share with Levi what a wonderful and heroic father she had,” Lummis said. “Our hearts, our love, our prayers and our embrace are with Rylee’s wife, child, friends and family as they grieve his loss and remember his bravery.”
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Lummis also praised the way that Wyoming has remembered McCollum for his sacrifice. Citizens lined the streets of Jackson on Friday as McCollum’s remains were returned to his home town.
“Wyoming’s very special way of honoring its beloved Rylee was on full display last Friday,” Lummis said. “People waving American flags lined the streets of Jackson to give Rylee a hero’s welcome as his remains were returned home. The people of Wyoming are heartbroken, but infinitely proud of his bravery and sacrifice.”
Lummis said that McCollum typified the spirit of Wyoming.
“Rylee was a Wyoming guy through and through,” she said. “He was born with the heart of a soldier. He joined the military right out of high school. He heard the call to defend our nation, and he didn’t hesitate to answer that call. He had plans to become a history teacher and coach once he finished his commitment to the Marines.”
Lummis’ full speech can be viewed online: