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Public Statements

American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. ROSKAM. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 634, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Commemorative Coin Act introduced by Mr. Moore and by my colleague from Illinois (Mr. Kirk).

Madam Speaker, occasionally we disagree on the floor of this great Chamber, and we heard some of those disagreements aired a couple of minutes ago, but now there can be no disagreement about the goals of this legislation, honoring the heroes who have been grievously injured in the defense of this country, in defense of liberty, in defense of democracy.

There are plenty of monuments, as well there ought to be, for those who gave their lives for those causes, but I know of no monument to those who lived, but whose lives were drastically altered, whose bodies were broken, but whose spirits are still strong. But now they will have their own monument, and it is only right, Madam Speaker.

This memorial will be for the World War II vet who came back without a hand, the Korean War vet who uses a wheelchair, the Vietnam vet who uses the white cane of the blind, and for the veterans of the conflicts in the gulf, who came back to us forever changed.

In 2000, Congress approved the building of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. It will be a $65 million privately funded memorial just west of the Rayburn Building, across from the Botanic Garden and in full view of the Capitol. The Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission approved the conceptual design in 2004 and reaffirmed it in 2006.

The memorial will express our Nation's gratitude to those who paid the terrible cost of defending freedom. It represents the values of duty, of courage and of sacrifice that are the lifeblood of American democracy.

I urge Members, staff and the rest of the country to look at the Web site of the memorial at

About half of the money for construction already has been raised, and this legislation, through surcharges on the sale of silver one-dollar coins to be issued by the U.S. Mint in 2010, could raise another $3.5 million to be used for construction or to maintain the dramatic memorial.

Madam Speaker, I am glad to be one of more than 300 Members of Congress who have cosponsored this bill, which is supported by the VFW, the American Legion, the DAV, and thousands of veterans and veteran organizations across the Nation who have contributed to the memorial's creation.

Madam Speaker, I ask for the immediate passage of H.R. 634 and urge all Members to support it.


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