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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BILBRAY. Mr. Chairman, this is a very simple amendment. It just says you will not use Federal funds to tear down the war memorial on Mount Soledad. It is very simple. It is basically a war memorial that was originally built in honor of the veterans of Korea.

Mr. Chairman, when I was a young teenager, a young child, I still remember as my father and I drove up the coast from San Diego, he would point up at this memorial and say that is the only war memorial to Korea. At the time, I believed him. As far as I know, at that time, it was. Since then, the war memorial has been surrounded by over 3,000 plaques; many show the Star of David, many show crescents, and many show crosses. But there are those that have taken offense to the fact that this war memorial happened to be a cross, the universal sign of memorial.

All I have to say is that if we don't support this amendment not to tear down this one memorial, then I ask this body to be serious about the fact that in the United States, we have over 4 million crosses as memorials in this country. We have over 455,000 emblems that may be interpreted any way you want. We have 40,000 Stars of David as memorials on veteran property. In fact, in Normandy, England, Mexico City, and Panama, we have 130,000 crosses or other symbols that might be projected as being religious.

Sadly, what we've got going on in San Diego is those who claim, in the name of religious tolerance, to want to destroy war memorials if anyone takes offense to this. All this says is we're not going to tear down the 4 million crosses on our veterans' memorials across this country and we're not going to tear down or use any funds from this budget to tear down the war memorial that stands on top of Mount Soledad at La Jolla, San Diego, California. It's very simple and very clear.

I hope that my colleagues can say, in the spirit of tolerance, no one means to go out and be so intolerant as to tear down war memorials just because somebody may claim that it may have a religious connotation. God knows we don't want to start tearing down those 4 million crosses that exist today or those thousands of Stars of David that proudly sit today on veterans' and Federal property.


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