EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF CONGRESS THAT THE PRESIDENT SHOULD DESIGNATE SEPTEMBER 11 AS A NATIONAL DAY OF VOLUNTARY SERVICE, CHARITY, AND COMPASSION -- (House of Representatives - September 22, 2004)
Mr. OSE. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res 473) expressing the sense of Congress that the President should designate September 11 as a national day of voluntary service, charity, and compassion, as amended.
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Mr. KING of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Ose) for yielding me time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Con. Res. 473, and I thank the gentleman from California for his efforts on having this on the floor today. And I thank the distinguished gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis) for the bipartisan support which he has given to this resolution. I also wanted to commend Senator Schumer in the other body for introducing a similar piece of legislation, because this is truly a bipartisan measure.
Mr. Speaker, the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, were obviously the worst national tragedy to ever affect this country. The deaths, the suffering which so many people went through certainly in my district and adjoining districts, there were many hundreds of people killed that day, certainly down here at the Pentagon there were many more killed, almost 3,000 people killed all together. And, again, it was a time of excruciating agony, torment, and suffering.
But as tragic and as terrible as those days were, we also saw something arise in this country, a sense of unity, a sense of people coming together, a sense of the country standing as one.
Obviously in a democratic society, a mood of total unity is never going to prevail for very long; and it is probably just as well that we do have our partisan differences, we have our ideological differences. That is what makes a democracy what it is. But on the other hand, I do wish we could bring back some of that sense of unity that we had in those days immediately following September 11, when people donated blood, when people raised funds, when people actually went to the site of the World Trade Center to assist the rescue workers who were there. It was just a tremendous sense of national unity.
What I have attempted to do with this resolution is to have the President establish a day which would commemorate September 11. It would call upon people to give of themselves. This is not going to be a holiday. We are not talking about giving people time off. We are asking people to go back to that sense of giving and donate their time and their efforts.
People could donate blood. People could take part in food drives. People could go to distribute food to the poor and to the needy. They can go to veterans hospitals. They could work with senior citizens. They could help Alzheimer's patients. They could just find a way to show a sense of giving which so prevailed in our country after September 11.
There are many ways we can honor the legacy of those who died on September 11. We can certainly do it by winning the war on terrorism. We can do that by establishing as much of a bipartisan policy as we can in combating terrorism. But we can also do it in a way which really crosses all ideological and partisan divides. That is by working together, by helping our fellow man, by helping our neighbor, by coming together. That is what this resolution attempts to do.
We call upon the President to designate September 11 as a national day of voluntary service, charity, and compassion. I strongly urge this House to adopt this resolution.
I thank the gentleman from California (Mr. Ose), the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis), and all those who co-sponsored it with me.
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