|Norton to Lead a Respect our Vets, Respect their Flag Special Order on House Floor|
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will bring her fight for equality and respect for the D.C. flag to the House floor by leading a half-hour “Respect our vets, Respect their Flag” Special Order on Wednesday, November 28, 2012, which will include participation by members from the territories, who have encountered occasions where their flags were not acknowledged. With the Senate expected to begin consideration this week of the fiscal year 2013 Defense Authorization bill, Norton has called on the Senate to adopt a provision introduced by Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan (D-MP) in the House-passed version of the bill to require the armed forces to display the flags of D.C. and the territories whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed. Norton also has written a letter to the White House requesting a Presidential Memorandum that directs all federal agencies to display the D.C. flag when the flags of the 50 states are displayed. The Army alone recognizes the D.C. and territorial flags as a matter of policy.
The Congresswoman first called attention to this issue at a Veterans Day press conference featuring D.C. resident and D.C. fire investigator Tomi Rucker, who wrote to the Congresswoman after attending the graduation of her son, Seaman Jonathan Rucker, from boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes. During the ceremony, state flags were raised to honor each of the graduates, except for the D.C. flag. In her letter to Norton and at the press conference, Ms. Rucker expressed how deeply she was hurt by the omission.
“Until hearing from Seaman Rucker’s parents, it would have been difficult to believe that any branch of the armed forces would disrespect the service of some members by failing or refusing to recognize their home state flags when others receive recognition,” Norton said. “The deep disappointment of Seaman Rucker’s parents after the D.C. flag was not raised to honor their son at his graduation ceremony at Naval Station Great Lakes amounted to personal disrespect to him and disrespect to the residents of the city, particularly our members of the armed services and veterans. Our half-hour special order will bring our fight for respect and equality for the District and the territories to the House floor. We will call on our Senate colleagues to follow the example of the House and include language requiring the armed forces to fly the D.C. flag whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed. This is the minimum in respect that all the members of our volunteer armed forces are due.”