|Parents of Naval Boot Camp Graduate to Join Norton and Mayor Gray at Press Conference to Honor and Seek Respect for D.C. Service Members and Veterans|
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will be joined by two D.C. parents, who are also public safety officers, at a Veterans Day press conference to pay tribute to D.C.’s veterans and members of the military and to speak about the failure of the United States Navy to raise the D.C. flag to honor their son, Jonathan Rucker, at his graduation from Naval Station Great Lakes, the nation’s only naval boot camp and largest training station, on Monday, November 12, 2012, at 10:30 a.m., at the D.C. War Memorial (Independence Avenue near 17th Street SW). D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, DC Vote Public Affairs Director Eugene Kinlow, and D.C. Office of Veterans Affairs Director Matthew Cary will also speak at the press conference.
Norton will also speak about her success in getting the withdrawal of a bill to nationalize the D.C. War Memorial, where the press conference is being held.
Tomi Rucker, an investigator with the D.C. Fire and EMS Department, and Michael Boyd, a sergeant with the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, attended the graduation ceremony for their son, Jonathan Rucker, at Naval Station Great Lakes. Flags from the home states of each graduate were raised to honor each graduate during the ceremony, but no D.C. flag was raised to honor Jonathan Rucker. Norton has written letters to President Obama and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, calling special attention to Jonathan Rucker’s case.
“The letter from Jonathan Rucker’s mother to me detailed her distress that her son was prepared to give his life for his country, but his country had left him out of the honor accorded all the other proud graduates,” Norton said. “The profound personal disappointment of these parents is emblematic of a longstanding lack of basic respect for the American citizenship of D.C. veterans and other D.C. residents. Moreover, we are certain from anecdotal evidence that the District is similarly omitted by federal agencies,” Norton said. “While D.C. residents continue to serve their country in every branch of the military, only the Army has acted to ensure the flags of the District and the territories are raised in the nation’s ceremonies and honors.”
Norton, concerned that the problem is widespread, has asked the White House for a Presidential Memorandum directing all federal agencies to display the D.C. flag when the flags of the 50 states are on display, and has asked Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to include in the final fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill the provision in the House-passed fiscal year 2013 Defense authorization bill that would require the armed forces to display the DC flag whenever the flags of the 50 states are displayed.
Published: November 9, 2012