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House OKs Congressional Gold Medal for 13 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

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House OKs Congressional Gold Medal for 13 U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan
Flag-draped transfer cases line the inside of a C-17 Globemaster II on August 29 prior to a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The fallen service members died while supporting non-combat operations in Kabul. File Photo by Jason Minto/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 26 (UPI) -- Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted Monday night to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 U.S. soldiers who were killed in a terrorist attack on an Afghan airport in late August amid a non-combat evacuation mission.

The bill authored by Rep. Lisa McLain, R-Mich., was co-sponsored by some 325 bipartisan lawmakers and is a companion to legislation Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., introduced to the Senate last month.

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"I'm proud the House passed my bill that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 13 brave men and women who were taken far too soon," McLain said in a statement after the passing of the bill. "Their sacrifice for our country and its allies will never be forgotten."

The 11 Marines, one Army soldier and one Navy corpsman were killed by a suicide bomber on Aug. 26 in the Afghan capital of Kabul aiding with the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the country, which had recently fallen to the Taliban.

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At least 170 Afghans were also killed.

The attack on Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport was the deadliest single day of the war in more than a decade, and in retaliation, the United State conducted a drone strike days later, killing two high-profile Islamic State-Khorasan Province targets.

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From the House floor on Monday, McLain said while the nation grieves for the service members they have lost, Gold Star families are often forgotten.

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"We owe our sincerest gratitude to the families who eagerly awaited these 13 service members' return. These families bear the greatest burden of their loved one's sacrifice and we can never thank them in a way that will make up for their loss," she said. "Awarding the Congress' highest honor is a small token of our appreciation."

Once the gold medals have been awarded, they will be received by the Smithsonian Institution and placed on display, according to the resolution.

Congress has commissioned gold medals since the American Revolution as its highest expression of appreciation for achievements and contributions to the nation.

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Among previous recipients are actor John Wayne, writer and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel and Martin Luther King Jr.

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