The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced today that the President has signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013, which contains a provision Norton sought requiring the armed services to display the District of Columbia flag and the flags of the territories whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed.
Norton's successful fight for respect for the D.C. flag began earlier this year when D.C. resident and fire investigator Tomi Rucker wrote to her expressing her disappointment that the D.C. flag was not raised to honor her son, Seaman Jonathan Rucker, at his graduation ceremony from boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, even though state flags were raised to honor the other graduates. Norton immediately investigated the issue, and spoke with officials at the highest levels of the White House, as well as with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI). The Congresswoman had to keep the issue in the spotlight with House floor speeches and press conferences because the Senate refused to include the provision in last year's defense bill.
"President Obama's signing of the the Defense Authorization bill into law had special meaning for District residents," Norton said. "The D.C. flag provision we fought so hard for was the least we owed our D.C. veterans, some of whom told us heartbreaking stories, among the most serious, not having the D.C. flag displayed at "welcome home' ceremonies from war while the state flags of their fellow service members were raised. Never again will our service members or veterans suffer the indignity of not being properly honored at military ceremonies." Norton said that she was particularly grateful to D.C. resident Tomi Rucker for helping lead the fight, and she said that special thanks were due to Chairman Levin, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-CA) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D-WA) for ensuring that this measure of equal respect became law.