RECOGNIZING NATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN'S DAY -- (House of Representatives - May 18, 2009)
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Mrs. BIGGERT. Madam Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House Resolution 297, recognizing May 25, 2009, as National Missing Children's Day.
On May 25, 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared somewhere on the two blocks between his SoHo apartment to the West Broadway bus stop. Despite a massive search effort and international media exposure, Etan has never been found. His image has come to represent the anguish of thousands of families who are still searching for their missing children.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan declared May 25 National Missing Children's Day. Doing so has provided an annual reminder of the disappearance of Etan and countless other children whose whereabouts have yet to be discovered.
Today, nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States and more than 2,000 children are reported missing every day. Children continue to be the most victimized segment of our society and crimes committed against children of all ages are the most underreported of any victim category.
In December 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill to reauthorize the Missing and Exploited Children's program under the Missing Children's Assistance Act. I would like to urge my colleagues to join me in supporting full funding for the invaluable programs authorized by this legislation. Our efforts here in Congress provide resources, training, and technical assistance that increase the capabilities of State and local law enforcement to locate missing children.
It is a shame that, 30 years after Etan's disappearance, thousands of children continue to be abducted or go missing in our country. While more missing children come home safely today than ever before, the recognition of National Missing Children's Day serves to remind us of the unfinished work we have to do to reunite families and protect the most vulnerable among us. I ask for my colleagues' support of this important resolution.