|Parents of Service Member Seeking Respect Featured at Norton Press Conference on Veterans Day at World War I Memorial|
WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a press conference on Veterans Day, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will honor D.C. veterans and ask the parents of Jonathan Matthew Rucker, a young D.C. native and graduate of Naval Station Great Lakes, to speak about the failure of the United States Navy to raise the D.C. flag at his graduation from the nation’s only naval boot camp and largest training station. D.C. residents Tomi Rucker, an investigator with the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, and Michael Linwood Boyd, a sergeant in the Special Operations Division of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, attended their son’s graduation only to discover that during the ceremony, the flags of the other new graduates’ states were raised to honor them, but the D.C. flag was absent. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and DC Vote Public Affairs Director Eugene Kinlow will join the parents and Norton at the press conference on Monday, November 12, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. at the D.C. War Memorial (Independence Avenue near 17th Street SW). Norton will also announce how the D.C. War Memorial was saved from being rededicated to all veterans of World War I. The officials and D.C. residents also will honor the city’s veterans who have served their country without a vote in Congress or equal citizenship.
“These parents, both public safety officials in our city, point out a longstanding problem of respect for the American citizenship of District of Columbia residents, most especially our veterans, but throughout the federal government, and of basic courtesy,” Norton said. “Only the Army has acted to ensure that the flags of the District and the territories are raised. Why has it been so difficult to give the D.C. members of the armed forces, our veterans, and other residents their due by having their citizenship reflected through recognition of their flag?”
With the lame-duck session of Congress about to begin, Norton is urging Senate Democrats to adopt language in the final fiscal year 2013 Department of Defense authorization bill that would require the armed forces to display the D.C. flag and the flags of the territories whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed. The Republican-led House passed a Defense authorization bill earlier this year containing that language, at the urging of Congressman Gregorio Kikiki Camacho Sablan (D-MP). Norton has written letters to both President Obama and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Defense authorization bill, calling special attention to Jonathan Rucker. Norton said she believes that the failure to respect our city’s residents could be widespread and has asked the President to issue a Presidential Memorandum directing all federal agencies to display the D.C. flag whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed. Norton had a similar experience in 2004 at Union Station on Columbus Circle but finally got the D.C. flag raised there, where the flags of the 50 states were displayed.
Published: November 8, 2012