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Condemning the Actions of September 7, 2007, Resulting in Damage to the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


CONDEMNING THE ACTIONS OF SEPTEMBER 7, 2007, RESULTING IN DAMAGE TO THE VIETNAM VETERANS WAR MEMORIAL -- (House of Representatives - October 23, 2007)

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Mr. CARTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I would also like to thank Ranking Member Buyer and Chairman Filner for bringing this forward today. I think this is an important resolution.

When I heard about the fact that someone had defaced the Vietnam Memorial, I just didn't really know what to think about it. It wasn't a front page item; it was a back page item. But to me it was just a shock. So I went down to the park to take a look at it.

And as I walked along there, and I know some others have done this too, you could see where this substance had cast what looked like a shadow across the names that were printed on portions of this wall. And it brought back to me a memory of the time when the traveling wall came to the town I am from in Round Rock, Texas, and was put up out in the park, and I went out there with one of my good friends and one of the lawyers who worked in my court who was a true Vietnam veteran and a hero, and we walked up to approach that wall. And it was sitting up on a hill in our park, and he got about 75 or 50 yards from the wall and he just stopped. And I said, Mike, are you going up there? And he said, Not right now. And then he stood there and stared at that wall and cried. And it took him a long time before he approached that wall because, as he said, there were too many names on that wall that he missed and loved.

That wall means that kind of thing to our Vietnam veterans. And for someone to go out and deface the honor of these fallen heroes whose names were carved on that wall is intolerable. I too hope the Park Service finds these people and prosecutes them to the full extent of the law because this is a shame. It's not only a shame to our national monument, which is against the law, but it is a shame to our national honor that this happened. And that is why I brought this bill forward.

I want to note that there are others who feel the same way, and many of them are here today and I am thankful for them. The Gathering of Eagles and the AMVETS posted a $5,000 reward to try to find out who did this defacing of the wall. That's how much it means to them.

This act of vandalism cannot be tolerated, should not be tolerated. And by passing this resolution, we will reaffirm to our veterans who fought the war in Vietnam that they did it with honor, they did it with principle, and we respect them as our warriors who did their job and should have been treated accordingly with honor when they came home. We need to continue to honor our Vietnam vets. That's why I feel this resolution is so important. And I hope it will be passed unanimously by this House.

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial serves as a memorial to the 2,700,000 men and women in the United States Armed Forces who served in the designated war zone during the Vietnam Era.

While serving in Southeast Asia or as a result of their wounds or a service-connected disability, 58,256 men and women died.

On Friday evening, September 7, 2007, the United States Park Police reported being notified of a light, oily, and unidentified substance that was spilled over portions of some of the names, panels, and paving stones of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

At least 14 of the 140 inscribed panels of the Memorial Wall were damaged.

The National Park Service has determined that the damage was the result of an act of vandalism.

Thank the Gathering of Eagles organization and AMVETS for bringing attention to this crime through the $5,000 reward they are offering and by spreading the word to their members.

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