PIRACY DETERRENCE AND EDUCATION ACT OF 2004 -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 30, 2004)
HON. BOB GOODLATTE
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2004
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support legislation I introduced to designate the oak as America's national tree.
During a four-month-long online election, with almost a half million votes logged, the American people chose the oak tree as America's national tree. To make official what the American people have already chosen, I introduced H.R. 1775 last April, which will officially designate the oak as America's national tree.
As a member of Congress representing a heavily forested district in Virginia, I know first-hand how trees add to our quality of life. As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, I appreciate how trees and forests enhance the environment, add recreational opportunities and provide for the livelihoods of millions of individuals in the forest industry. Whether enjoying a product generated from a forest, or the simple satisfaction of lying under a shaded giant, trees contribute to all Americans.
The strong and stately oak tree is of particular importance in America's history and culture. Not only is this majestic tree an aesthetic beauty that characterizes the landscape of much of our great Nation, it also provides us with wood products in our homes, our offices and our places of gathering. Present in all 50 states, the oak has played a huge role in America's history as a valuable resource. It helped our founding fathers establish a new Nation, supplying building materials for the ever-expanding 13 original colonies. It served as a familiar sight to pioneers as they forged across the new republic to the west coast. And to this day it has remained an enduring, valuable, and highly-prized raw material from which beautifully crafted furniture, sturdy door and window framing, ornate flooring and paneling, and the like, are made. This enduring and mighty tree, which has long been a part of our national heritage and strength, fully merits the distinction as America's national tree.
The oak tree has also played a key role in many specific historic moments in our Nation's history. Abraham Lincoln found his way across a river near Homer, Illinois, using the Salt River Ford Oak as a marker. When King James II attempted to revoke Connecticut's charter, the "Charter White Oak" is said to have been the hiding place for the historic document. Andrew Jackson took shelter under Louisiana's Sunnybrook Oaks on his way to the Battle of New Orleans. And "Old Ironsides," the USS Constitution, earned its nickname from the strength of its live oak hull, famous for easily repelling British cannonballs.
Chosen by the people in a broad-based election, the oak tree represents the fundamental characteristics of the great nation: strength, endurance, and beauty. I urge each of my colleagues to make official what we have known for many years ..... that the oak tree is America's national tree.