It's been a busy month already this September! Just this past weekend, I was able to spend some time with students and business and community leaders throughout North Alabama.
On September 16, my office hosted an 'Academy Day' event for high school students interested in receiving a U.S. Service Academy appointment. More than 300 people attended the event, a true testament to the patriotism and strong military presence in our district. The 5th Congressional District has a national Top 10 ranking in the number of applicants who are accepted into West Point, as well as sending highly qualified students to the other Service Academies. I'm certain this year's bright group of candidates will continue that tradition.
September 17 marked the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution. I had the privilege of speaking with 7th grade government students at Athens Middle School, where I was encouraged to see so many youth interested in America's foundational documents. It is important to continually reflect on our nation's founding values, and Constitution Day was a special opportunity to share that heritage with the next generation of citizens.
Earlier this month, I addressed the U.S. House to commemorate the life and work of American Astronaut Neil Armstrong and his contributions to human exploration. Armstrong's walk on the moon helped define America, and changed world history, as we left earth behind and ventured into the mysteries of space. While we are deeply saddened by the passing of an astronaut and an American hero, Armstrong will always hold a special place in history and especially in the hearts of the many North Alabamians whose work at NASA created the Saturn V rocket that carried the Apollo 11 crew into space.
In recent days, rising tension in the Middle East has been acutely felt here at home with the tragic murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya, John Christopher Stevens, and three embassy staffers. In Egypt, our embassy walls were scaled and the American flag ripped apart; similar demonstrations were held throughout the Middle East. In my view, America must stop spending our treasury and risking American lives for those who neither appreciate our sacrifices, nor believe in basic liberties like freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Further, America should minimize or eliminate its role in Civil Wars that alienate combatants and later become fertile recruiting grounds for anti-American combatants.
Many of the small-business owners and job creators in our district are already doing their part to support free enterprise and ensure American exceptionalism does continue. This week, I was presented with awards from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and the National Tax Limitation Committee, for my stance on key small business and fiscal issues. I'm looking forward to discussing these and other important policies with my colleagues as we continue our work in Washington.