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Public Statements

Establishment of National Cemetery in Southern Colorado Region

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. UDALL of Colorado. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation to establish a national cemetery for veterans in southern Colorado, and I congratulate my colleague JOHN SALAZAR for his work on this bill.

I also want to recognize the work of my former colleague Joel Hefley and my current colleague DOUG LAMBORN on this issue. Establishing a national veterans cemetery in southern Colorado has been and continues to be a goal shared by the entire Colorado delegation.

For over 8 years, it has also been a goal of the Pikes Peak Veterans Cemetery Committee. And it has been a goal of the Department of Colorado Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Colorado chapters of the American Legion, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Association for Service Disabled Veterans. So many people have worked tirelessly to build support for this cemetery, and I hope they are pleased today that we are now one step closer to making it a reality.

This is a particularly timely bill to consider today, as we approach another Memorial Day and as we continue to send our troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. We remember the sacrifices that our veterans have made and the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform continue to make today to protect our freedom.

And at a time when our country is divided over the war in Iraq, it's even more important that we honor the service of those who have given their lives for this country and of the many veterans still among us.

Of course, it isn't enough just to remember--we must provide our troops and veterans with the care and support they have been promised. And we must provide them with a resting place within or as close as possible to their own communities.

With a growing military retiree and veterans population in southern Colorado and particularly El Paso County--and with Denver's Fort Logan cemetery rapidly filling up its burial spaces--it makes sense to provide for the future even as we ensure that southern Colorado's veterans receive the recognition they deserve.

A National Veterans Cemetery in El Paso County will also serve as an important symbol for those in the military community who have given so much to their country. Mr. Speaker, this is an important piece of legislation, and I urge its passage.


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