CARTER JOINED BY VETERANS CONDEMNING VANDALISM AT VIETNAM VETERANS' MEMORIAL
U.S. Congressman John Carter (TX-31), House Conference Secretary, was joined today by veterans and members of Congress to publicly condemn the vandalism at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. The press conference, held today, followed a House Resolution authored by Carter and co-sponsored by 104 Republican and Democrat members of Congress.
"The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial is one of the most meaningful and emotional monuments in Washington, D.C.," Congressman Carter said. "People come from all over the world to pay their respects to the military men and women who gave their lives during the Vietnam War. What has happened here is a deplorable act against our military men and women, those who fought in the past and those who are currently fighting to protect our freedom. I hope we catch the cowards who did this, and I hope they are prosecuted and are thrown in jail."
According to the National Park Service, 14 of the 140 panels were stained by an unidentified substance found on Sept. 7th. The Wall holds the names of 52,256 casualties and service members still missing in action during the Vietnam War.
"I can not fathom how anyone could justify such a heinous act against our veterans and their families," AMVETS National Commander John P. "J.P" Brown III, a Vietnam War veteran himself, said today at the press conference. "From media reports, I gather this may have been seen by the perpetrators as a protest against the government and current military operations. If that is the case, these criminals are as uneducated as they are unpatriotic. This wall belongs to the people-not the government."
The Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, which celebrates its 25th birthday this November, was paid for entirely through private contributions from veterans, foundations, unions, corporations, civic organizations and more that 275,000 individual Americans. No federal funds were used for its construction.
Carter traveled down to the memorial yesterday morning to witness the damage. He said the National Park Service is in the process of removing stains slowly in order to avoid further damage to the memorial.
Carter was joined by O.P. Ditch and Ronald Kirby with the Gathering of Eagles veterans organization, Ray Kelley, Joseph Chenelly and John P. "J.P." Brown III all with the American Veterans (AMVETS) Organization, Marshall Hanson with the Reserve Officers Association of the United States, and Ed Dockery with the Fleet Reserve Association.
Members of Congress in attendance were Congressman Sam Johnson (TX-03), a U.S. Air Force Vietnam Veteran and a POW for seven years, Congressman Leonard Boswell (IA-03) who served in the U.S. Army, Congresswoman Heather Wilson (NM -01) who served in the U.S. Air Force, Congressman Steve Pearce (NM-02) who also served in the U.S. Air Force, Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) who was a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11) a U.S. Army Veteran, Congressman Chris Shays (CT-04), Congressman Randy Neugebauer (TX-19), Congressman Michael McCaul (TX-10), Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Congressman Tom Reynolds (NY-26), Congressman Todd Akin (MO-02), and Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02).
"I am proud that so many of my colleagues came today to demonstrate their support for veterans and their families. I am also proud to have the support of these prestigious veteran organizations that represent so many of our retired military men and women across this nation," Carter continued. "While we may never know who committed this cowardly and shameful act, it is important that the House of Representatives stand up and speak on behalf of the living and deceased Service Members and their families whose actions are memorialized on The Wall."