Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, Memorial Day is a solemn time when we, as a Nation, commemorate the ultimate sacrifice that our brave men and women in uniform have made for us. Sadly, there are [Page: H4110]
those who, despicable as it may be, desecrate the grave sites of these heroes. In cemeteries across our Nation, thieves have even looted the metal parts of grave markers and sold them for scrap metal.
Accordingly, Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3480, the Let Our Veterans Rest in Peace Act, which will protect and honor the final resting places of our Nation's veterans. This bill will ensure that penalties are in place so that these despicable thieves are appropriately punished and would-be thieves are effectively deterred.
Specifically, the bill directs the U.S. Sentencing Commission to review its guidelines in order to provide a fitting sentence for all offenses involving the desecration of, theft of, or trafficking in a grave marker, monument, headstone, or other object that had permanently marked a veteran's grave site.
I commend our colleague, the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Carney), for his leadership in this unfortunately necessary measure.
I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation, particularly as we prepare for the solemn observance of Memorial Day. These veterans have sacrificed greatly for us, and they deserve no less than the highest honor and dignity for their final resting places.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the gentlelady from Texas (Ms. Jackson-Lee), a member of the Judiciary Committee.
(Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and extend her remarks.)
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Virginia.
It is of great necessity that we rise today to stand against this horrible and devastating act, and that is, the desecration of our veterans' or our fallen soldiers' graves. So I rise in support of H.R. 3480, the Let Our Veterans Rest in Peace Act of 2008, in honor and tribute to Jeremy Burris of Texas, whose grave site was desecrated.
Might I also suggest that on the eve of the commemoration of Memorial Day, when we acknowledge and honor and pay tribute to our fallen soldiers, this is enormously important legislation. Because the desecration of veterans' graves is becoming so pervasive, States have acted by replacing the stolen markers with aluminum markers instead of the brass and bronze markers they once used. How insulting, how low. And so it is important that this Congress say to the American people, and those who would
do such dastardly deeds, we will accept it no more.
With the price of aluminum sharply on the rise, it is expected that aluminum that is being utilized instead of the bronze may also be stolen. So this important legislation is asking for enhanced penalties to make a very strong statement that this is an intolerable act and an unacceptable act.
As we mourn our most recent dead, those who have fallen in Iraq, how much more can families tolerate to know that they buried their loved ones, and then someone desecrated their graves?
It is important that this legislation pass today to recognize again the great debt of gratitude and the great debt of appreciation that we owe our fallen soldiers.
As the great British leader, Winston Churchill, famously stated, ``Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.''
We owe, many of us, all of us, so much to the few who have fallen on behalf of this great Nation. And so I support, enthusiastically, the legislation sponsored by our good friend, Representative Carney from Pennsylvania, the Let Our Veterans Rest in Peace Act of 2008. Let this be an important statement that we will not tolerate the continuation of such desecration.
Mr. KING of Iowa. Mr. Speaker, again, I support this bill in its entirety. It is a time that has come. I urge its adoption.
Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.