1:29 PM EDT

John Adler, D-NJ 3rd

Mr. ADLER of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks on this legislation and to insert extraneous material thereon.

1:29 PM EDT

Edolphus Towns, D-NY 10th

Mr. TOWNS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise in support of H. Res. 679, supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day, celebrated each year on September 16. This resolution expresses this Chamber's commitment to this important veterans' service group.

The American Legion has nearly 3 million members across the country and worldwide, and of course I think that is so significant.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:30 PM EDT

Darrell Issa, R-CA 49th

Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise to urge passage of this resolution supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day.

``For God and country.'' These four words eulogize and introduce the preamble of the American Legion's constitution, which has been recited by its members at every meeting in its 90-year history.

The history of the American Legion began when it was established as a mutual aid veterans' organization in September 1919. The organization is a congressionally chartered organization and was established so that returning soldiers of World War I would not suffer the same hardships that those from other wars had endured.

Mr. Speaker, they have grown far beyond that original charter, and today they represent a consolidated organization that looks after veterans from all wars and issues that are so important. Through thick and thin, through popular and unpopular wars, they stay out of the politics of the day and focus on the veterans of yesterday.

So, Mr. Speaker, I, too, rise with the chairman to support this, because the American Legion, in its work in supporting not only veterans, but also youth organizations such as the Boy Scouts, Boys State, Boys Nation, and others, puts together the veterans of yesterday with the youth and future of tomorrow. That is an important issue and one that I think all of us can appreciate.

We have all seen it. Not one Member of Congress can say that they haven't been touched and they haven't seen the work done by the American Legion in their district.

I urge strong support for this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

1:32 PM EDT

Debbie Halvorson, D-IL 11th

Mrs. HALVORSON. Mr. Speaker, I was privileged to introduce House Resolution 679, supporting the goals and ideals of the American Legion Day on September 16.

This resolution helps to honor the service and the sacrifice of the nearly 3 million members, men and women, in nearly 15,000 American Legion posts worldwide.

On September 16, 1919, the American Legion was granted their Federal charter by Congress, and 90 years later they have kept their commitment to serve not only as a resource and a voice on behalf of veterans across America, but also as an organization dedicated to the betterment of America through community service.

Since their founding charter, the American Legion has not wavered from the guiding principles and vision that can be found in their four pillars of service.

The first pillar is a steadfast commitment to ensure that America has the best fighting force in the world. Towards this end, the Legion has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the American soldier to make sure that they have the resources and the tools they need in order to do their job.

The second pillar is making sure that we proudly care for our veterans. And whether it is providing one-on-one assistance to veterans through what can be the confusing and frustrating experience of filing for a disability claim or walking the halls of Congress to educate Members like myself on the legislative issues that are important to our veterans, they do an excellent job. The original GI Bill, for example, helped set the standard for the benefits that we provide to veterans and was spearheaded

by the Legion.

The American Legion has been there for our veterans for over 90 years, [Page: H9509]

standing up to serve those who have served.

Caring for our youth is the third pillar in the American Legion vision. The Special Olympics, the Children's Miracle Network, the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, the American Legion Family Support Network, those are just a short list of the programs that the Legion supports. This is a testament to their belief that taking care of children in America, not just veterans' children, is something that makes our country stronger.

The final pillar comes from the understanding of the word ``patriot.'' Having fought for and defended our freedom, Legionnaires know firsthand that being a patriot means you must take action to preserve America. They know that being a patriot means not just defending our freedoms, but also defending our heritage, culture, and our flag. This pillar has been the foundation for the Legion's support of programs that instill American values in our youth. From Boy Scouts to Boys State, they've been

there setting the course for millions of American children as they learn what it means to be an American and why it's so important to preserve our country.

The commitment to the four pillars of service has been the cornerstone of the American Legion ideals and their successes. It serves as a model that all Americans can use to better themselves and to better America. And it has, without question, helped make the country even greater. Millions of Americans have been encouraged, supported, and inspired by Legion programs, and this resolution is just a small way to say thank you.

I would also like to take a moment to recognize and thank the American Legion Auxiliary. Also formed in 1919, the Auxiliary has shown the same devotion to our veterans and our community, and they too deserve to be recognized.

Finally, I would like to congratulate Commander Clarence Hill for his recent election as National Commander. I appreciate his 24 years of service to our Nation in the U.S. Navy and wish him the best of luck during his tenure as Commander.

H. Res. 679 helps to recognize this extraordinary organization whose members have not only fought to protect our country, but chose to continue to serve long after their military service has ended.

1:37 PM EDT

Ginny Brown-Waite, R-FL 5th

Ms. GINNY BROWN-WAITE of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the goals and ideals of American Legion Day.

Tomorrow, September 16, marks the 90th anniversary of the American Legion's charter. The American Legion was founded to serve the needs of America's veterans and to promote and protect the rights of those veterans. Ninety years later, the American Legion remains committed to its mission to instill ``a sense of individual obligation to the community, State and Nation.''

The Legion's nearly 3 million members have given generously of their time in each and every one of our communities. Be it volunteering in veterans hospitals, awarding millions of dollars in college scholarships, or sponsoring activities like Boys and Girls State, Legionnaires continue to devote themselves to the ideal of ``mutual helpfulness.''

I am so proud to have the highest number of veterans of any Member of Congress. And as I travel throughout Florida's Fifth Congressional District, I get to see firsthand how the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary and their members affect the lives of veterans and their local communities.

Today, I am especially pleased that for the first time a Florida veteran has been elected National Commander of the American Legion. I am proud to congratulate Commander Clarence Hill on his achievement and wish him the very best as he leads the American Legion into what I'm positive will be another wonderful 90 years.

I would also like to thank Representative Halvorson for introducing this resolution. And I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting the American Legion and recognizing September 16 of each year as American Legion Day.