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National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of my amendment that is included in this en bloc amendment. It includes my language, which encourages the President of the United States to order that the U.S. flag be flown at the American outpost in Haiti. It is to be flown at this outpost as we continue to assist in our earthquake relief.

I would like to thank Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member McKeon for their hard work on this bill and for including my amendment in this en bloc package.

As the United States extends a helping hand to our neighbor nation of Haiti, I am disheartened that the President has decided that our service men and women should not work in their outpost under the American flag and that he has ordered that the American flag cease to fly over that outpost.

The American flag is a symbol that our men and women in uniform are promoting the American spirit of rebuilding hope, prosperity, and opportunity. As a marine and naval medical officer, I understand that it is critical for morale that our military should work under the American flag, especially when our presence in a foreign country is under peaceful conditions.

As a sign of respect and support for the selfless efforts of the service men and women, I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I request that my full statement be entered into the Record.

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank Chairman Skelton and Ranking Member McKeon for their hard work on this critical bill, which is the life-blood for those defending our freedoms at home and abroad. And thank you gentlemen, for allowing me to offer this amendment before the House.

I rise today in support of my amendment which encourages the President to order the flag of the United States to be flown over all military and civilian outposts in Haiti during earthquake relief efforts.

As Memorial Day approaches, Americans will be honoring those brave souls who, as Abraham Lincoln said in the Gettysburg Address, "gave the last full measure of devotion'' to our nation, by flying the American Flag at their homes and places of business.

However, there is one place where the flag will not be waving, and that is in the Republic of Haiti, on American outposts where our servicemen and women are leading humanitarian efforts to aid those adversely effected by the magnitude 7 earthquake that devastated the island nation.

The President has decided that the stars and stripes would be viewed with disdain in Haiti. That our servicemen and women providing basic essentials would be viewed as an occupying force if they did it under our flag. So he has ordered the Department of Defense not to fly our flag in Haiti, for fear of being viewed unfavorably by the rest of the world.

I strongly disagree with the President, and I believe he could not be more wrong about how the world views the United States and our flag. I submit that every member of this body will agree with me when I say that when tasked with a mission of mercy, there are no better ambassadors for the United States than our men and women in uniform. In Berlin after World War II, and most recently in places like The Philippines, Bolivia, Djibouti, and Colombia, it has been our service-members who have delivered hope to those who have none.

In all these places our Flag has flown proudly over these merchants of mercy. The situation is no different in Haiti, our servicemen and women are still giving hope to an impoverished people, they should be allowed to do this under the symbol that embodies all that we hold dear.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment that honors our military and their efforts in Haiti, and encourages the President to allow them to serve under our proud flag.


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