September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Congressional Record - Expressing Sense of Congress That Every Citizen is Encouraged to Display the Flag; September 13, 2001


[Page: H5595]


Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that it be in order at any time to consider in the House the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 225) expressing the sense of the Congress that, as a symbol of solidarity following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, every United States citizen is encouraged to display the flag of the United States; that the concurrent resolution be considered as read for amendment; and that the previous question be considered as ordered on the concurrent resolution to final adoption without intervening motion, except 1 hour of debate equally divided and controlled by myself and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) or a designee, and one motion to recommit.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LaTourette). Is there objection to the request of the gentlewoman from Missouri?

There was no objection.

Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the unanimous consent request just agreed to, I call up the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 225) expressing the sense of the Congress that, as a symbol of solidarity following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, every United States citizen is encouraged to display the flag of the United States, and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.

The text of H. Con. Res 225 is as follows:

H. Con. Res. 225

Whereas on September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked and destroyed four commercial aircraft, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City, and crashing another aircraft into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.; and

Whereas thousands of innocent people were killed and injured as a result of those attacks, including the passengers and crew of the four aircraft, workers and visitors in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, rescue workers, and bystanders: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Congress that--

(1) in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, United States citizens should join together to defend and honor the Nation and its symbols of strength; and

(2) for a period of 30 days after the date on which this resolution is agreed to, each United States citizen and every community in the Nation is encouraged to display the flag of the United States at homes, places of work and business, public buildings, and places of worship to remember those individuals who have been lost and to show the solidarity, resolve, and strength of the Nation.

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Emerson) and the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) each will control 30 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. Emerson).

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

Mr. Speaker, it is with a very heavy heart that I ask this resolution be brought today to the House floor.

No one will ever forget what happened to this great country on September 11, 2001. As a Nation, we speak with one loud, strong and determined voice in solidarity. We must rise up from this horrific act and rally together as Americans, regardless of race, creed or religion. I can think of no better rallying tool to demonstrate that unity than the American flag.

The American flag has long been a symbol of freedom for our country, but we are well aware that this freedom has always come with a price. Be it the price paid by our soldiers who died defending the freedoms of our great Nation or those involved in this week's tragedy, the sacrifices for freedom, for democracy and for peace must never be forgotten.

For that reason, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hastert), the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Gephardt), the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Skelton) and I have introduced this resolution, the solidarity flag resolution.

This resolution calls upon each and every American in every community throughout this great Nation to demonstrate their unity for our country by flying our flag, our most enduring and visible symbol of freedom, at home, at businesses, schools, and places of worship for 30 days. That demonstration of unity requires communities to join together at city councils and school board meetings and civic organizations and in State legislatures, to hold Old Glory high and proud, and to show the world that liberty, justice and courage live on in America.

Mr. Speaker, we have an unbreakable and unwavering and unshakable spirit in this country and we have an enduring commitment to the preservation of freedom and democracy. No act of terrorism will ever be able to break that.

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

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

Mr. Speaker, first let me congratulate and thank the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. EMERSON), for pioneering this resolution. I have a special thanks to the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. HASTERT) and to the gentleman

[Page: H5596]

from Missouri (Mr. GEPHARDT), the minority leader. It is a pleasure and an honor to cosponsor this with my colleagues.

Mr. Speaker, this resolution is one that will have hopefully a healing power for Americans, one that asks each American to renew his or her allegiance to our country.

Every day when we come into this Chamber, we pledge allegiance to the flag. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Of course, we are also led in a prayer by the Chaplain. This flag symbolizes so much. It has reflected so much goodness and greatness through the years, that in times of stress and sorrow we feel a special need and obligation to rally around it. That is the purpose of this resolution.

This flag was originally flown in a different form, of course, by those in the Revolution, down through the years, the War of 1812, out of which came the story of the poem, later put to music which we now sing as the Star Spangled Banner. Down through the years of the challenges and conflicts our country has sustained, our flag has flown high over this free and wonderful land. This is America. This is the history of the American flag. In this past century, we have led with this flag in fighting tyranny, not once but twice.

We now refer to those episodes as the First World War and the Second World War. Since that time, freedom has been challenged and the American flag has held the way. Consequently, it is up to us today in this very troubling, difficult time for us, as Americans, to rally around the American flag once more. If nothing else comes out of all of this sadness and turmoil, maybe, Mr. Speaker, there will be an added appreciation for young men and young women who wear the American uniform.

It is they who protect the rights and freedoms of our country and all that the American flag stands for. Our young men and young women are in various camps and posts, not just here in our country, but in far-flung parts of this world, bringing stability, bringing peace, and the American flag is leading the way.

Cicero, the great Roman orator, once said that gratitude is the greatest of all virtues, and this is an opportunity for us as Americans as we fly this flag to remember those Americans, both in New York and those who were wearing the uniform at the Pentagon, who paid such a terrible price for being Americans.

So let us show appreciation for our country, especially for those young men and women who wear the uniforms of the United States of America.

A number of years ago, the famous folk singer Johnny Cash wrote a ballad entitled the ``Ragged Old Flag.'' I wish to repeat that today as a reminder of the history of our country and the flag that has flown so proudly over our land.

As Johnny Cash penned it, ``I walked through a county courthouse square; on a park bench an old man was sitting there. I said, your old courthouse is kinda run down. And he said, no, it will do for our little town.

``I said, your old flag pole has leaned a little bit and that's a ragged old flag you got hanging on it.

``He said, have a seat, and I sat down.

``Is this the first time you have been to our little town? I said, I think it is. And he said, I don't like to brag but we're kinda proud of that old ragged flag.

``You see, we got a little hole in that flag there, when Washington took it across the Delaware.

[Time: 10:30]

And it got powder burns the night that Francis Scott Key sat watching and writing, ``Say Can You See?''

And it got a bad rip in New Orleans, with Packingham and Jackson tuggin' at its seams.

And it almost fell at the Alamo beside the Texas flag, but she waved on through.

She got cut with a sword at Chancellorsville, and she got cut again at Shiloh Hill.

There was Robert E. Lee, Beauregard, and Bragg; and the South wind blew hard on that ragged old flag.

On Flanders Field in World War I, she got a big hole from a Bertha gun. She turned blood red in World War II, she hung limp and low a time or two.

She was in Korea and Vietnam. She went where she was sent by her Uncle Sam.

She waved from our ships upon the briny foam, and now they have about quit waving her back here at home.

This old flag is wearing thin, but she's in good shape for the shape she's in.

So we raise her up every morning, and we take her down every night.

We don't let her touch the ground, and we fold her up just right.

On second thought, I do like to brag, 'cause I'm mighty proud of that ragged old flag.

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

Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I have always loved that song of Johnny Cash, because it so symbolizes the importance of our American flag.

The Speaker today in our conference mentioned something that happened yesterday as he was driving along Rock Creek Parkway and saw an old veteran waving an American flag back and forth, back and forth, for hours on end because the man was there when they left to go and he was there when they returned back to the Capitol. It also reminds me of the time when my late husband Bill had just died and we were driving to the cemetery in Hillsboro and along the way was an old veteran standing on a hill with his military hat on, waving a flag. It was tattered and it was old. My children just gripped my hand and said, ``Oh, Mom, look.'' And that so symbolized what is right and what is great about our country.

Mr. Speaker, there are no words to describe the sorrow and the heartache, the tragedy that has rocked our Nation over the past several days. We really have been cut to the core and been left shocked and numb and grappling with one question that cannot be answered, the question that my children, who are 19 and 23, and all of my stepchildren ask me, ``Why has this happened?'' But I think that in spite of the despicable horror we have seen, America does remain the world's shining beacon of freedom and democracy, and that freedom lives on in our hearts and in our actions and in our most enduring symbol of all, the American flag.

Dr. Stephen Ambrose, who is, as we all know, a noted historian, once said, ``In World War II, the biggest army ever assembled was not German, Russian, nor indirectly American. The biggest and greatest army ever assembled was an aroused democracy.'' Let each of us as an aroused citizen of this democracy show our solidarity as a Nation by flying the Stars and Stripes from every flagpole, every home, every business, and school in this great country.

Mr. Speaker, if I might paraphrase Dr. Martin Luther King: as Americans, we must let freedom ring. We must let freedom ring, from coast to coast and border to border by flying our flag and showing the rest of the world our star-spangled banner still waves, over the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

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

Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. LOFGREN).

Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, I heartily support the matter before us today and join with my colleagues in urging its swift passage.

Here on Thursday in the Capitol, we are busy at work doing the things that need to be done for our Nation. We are meeting with the appropriate officials in the executive branch, both intelligence, military, and law enforcement. The executive branch is doing its job so that the proper response can be taken, both in terms of the military might of our Nation and also in terms of law enforcement to find the perpetrators, those who are America's enemies and those who have supported America's enemies. Law enforcement and rescue personnel are at work.

But the American people want to do something in addition to what their government is doing. And I think actually that this important show of American solidarity will be an inspiration not just to all of us here in the United States but to people around the world, who are already in awe of the solidarity and the unity of the American people.

We are the most diverse Nation on the face of the Earth. We come, or our parents do, from every part of the world. Yet we have something in common. We become Americans through

[Page: H5597]

our idealism, through our love of this country, through our dedication to liberty and the Constitution, and to our loyalty to each other. Flying the American flag is a symbol, but symbols do count.

I have actually been flying my flag at home in San Jose since Tuesday. My children went out with our flag to fly it Tuesday night, we talked on the phone, and my neighbors have done the same. So this is happening spontaneously. I think it is a wonderful thing that the Congress is recognizing the desire of the American people to step forward with a specific symbol, our wonderful flag, to show our unity today.

I would ask a further thing. Not every American has a flag handy, so let us call upon the flag makers of the country and the retailers of the country to make extra special efforts to have flags available so that Americans can take this step and make sure that every loyal, patriotic American has the opportunity to make the statement by flying their flag. I thank the author of the bill, and I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri (Mrs. EMERSON) for their leadership on this matter.

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

The tragic attacks on Americans took place on Tuesday, September 11, in New York and here in the Washington area at the Pentagon, the seat of the military of our country. The following evening, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. STUMP), who is chairman of the Committee on Armed Services and I, as the ranking member, went to the Pentagon for a briefing that we received from three admirals. And then we went around to the west side of the Pentagon where the crews were working, still putting out the fires and to try to find any survivors. Then the next day, in that very spot of disaster, a garrison-sized American flag was draped on the side of the Pentagon, an American flag, that said we are still here, the military of our country is still in business, and we are Americans. So I compliment those that sent that message to the world at the Pentagon of the United States.

It was during the War of 1812, Mr. Speaker, that an occurrence took place in the Baltimore harbor. At that time there were a number of British ships anchored in harbor with a good number of British troops thereon and a doctor had been taken captive by the British military and held aboard one of the ships. He was a noncombatant but they thought he was; and one of his friends, a young lawyer, rode out to the ship and asked that he be released so he could go back and tend his patients in the city of Baltimore. The British admiral said, yes, you may take your friend, but not now, not until tomorrow. And then he pointed toward Fort McHenry which guards that harbor, and he pointed to the American flag of the day. And he said, You see that flag? It will not be flying there tomorrow, but the British Union Jack will be flying, for tonight we will attack Fort McHenry and the British will take it.

All night long, this young lawyer and his doctor friend watched from the British ship while the rockets glared and the bombardment occurred over the ramparts of Fort McHenry, and from time to time they could see amidst the burst the American flag was flying. The following morning, the sun rose, the battle had ended, and the American flag still stood, for the American forces had repulsed successfully the British attack on Fort McHenry and they had won that battle.

True to his word, the British admiral did turn the doctor loose and his lawyer friend, and he went back by row boat to Baltimore. The young lawyer was so moved that he penned a poem that was later put to the music of a drinking song of the day; and that poem, written by the young lawyer named Francis Scott Key, is today the national anthem of our country. What we learned from that episode and from that poem and song tells us that we still are the grandest civilization ever known in the history of mankind, and that this American flag still flies, though we have detractors and those who would attack us.

So let us, in compliance with the suggestion and urging of this resolution, as Americans fly our flags, let us fly them for 30 days, and let children know as well as all other Americans what this country stands for, and that we shall not be daunted, that we as Americans will remain great and free.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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

I want to thank my good friend and colleague the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. SKELTON) as well as our leaders, the gentleman from Missouri (Mr. GEPHARDT) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. HASTERT), for sponsoring this resolution with us.

[Time: 10:45]

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. BACA).

Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I stand in support of this resolution.

Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that we demonstrate to America that we do have the flag. I know that this weekend is very critical to many of us Mexican Americans, to Hispanics. We are going to be celebrating the 16th of September. But I think in honor of what happened, I think it would be important for all of us as we begin to celebrate the 16th of September that we carry the flag and show the flag.

I know that in my district we have Route 66, where over 80,000 people will be participating. I encouraged yesterday in a memo that each and every one who is participating display the flag. It is important that we do that, for what it stands for as a symbol.

We have got to realize that many of our veterans have fought for this country, for the freedoms that we enjoy today, and it is the symbol of that flag that was carried by many individuals who were willing to give of their lives.

Yes, it happened once again on September 11. Many individuals died. I think we have a responsibility to this country, we have a responsibility to those individuals, to demonstrate that we are a strong Nation, that we will not tolerate what happened; and we will demonstrate our unity and solidarity in carrying the flag that we are so proud of as Americans.

Mr. Speaker, I encourage everyone to display the flag. Some of us have already begun to display it in our offices, us Members and others, in our homes; and hopefully we will have the flag flown throughout the Nation.

So I support the resolution. I think it is important for all of us to do this.

Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. GREEN).

Mr. GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Missouri for yielding me time.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is a good effort. Again, we are seeing the people in this country take the lead on this. In fact, I just talked to my district offices, and they are amazed in Houston how many people are taking their own initiative, not just here in Washington, but all across the country.

I think Congress needs to encourage that, because, again, we are all in this together, Democrats and Republicans, urban and rural, North and South. The thing that brings us together is we are Americans.

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

Mr. Speaker, again I would like to thank our colleagues and all of us and the many, many colleagues on both sides of the aisle who have been original cosponsors of this resolution.

It is so important; and so many of our constituents around the country have asked us what can we do, what can we do to show our unity and to show our strength of purpose, other than to give blood, for example, or to work or volunteer in search and rescue missions.

We have said that flying the flag, our great and unwavering symbol of freedom, would be something that all of us could do together. It is for that reason that we sponsored this resolution. It is something that the American people all understand.

So that we might honor those brave souls who lost their lives in New York, at the Pentagon or in the fields of Pennsylvania, let us honor them by flying our flags for the next 30 days from every village, from every school, from every home across this great Nation.

[Begin Insert]

Ms. ESHOO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H. Con Res. 225 a resolution expressing the sense of the Congress that, as a symbol of solidarity following the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, every citizen is encouraged to display the flag of the United States.

[Page: H5598]

It's vital that our nation be united as never before as we emerge from these terrible events. The symbol of our unity is our flag. I urge every business and home to raise their flags high in support of the victims and their families of this atrocity. By doing so, each of us will send a signal to the world that as a nation we will not be deterred by the vicious attack, and we will move through this together strengthening each other.

I thank the sponsors of this resolution.

Mr. FORBES. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution encouraging our citizens and communities to show their support for the victims of our most recent and most vicious national tragedy by displaying our Nation's most recognizable symbol of freedom, the American flag.

The terrorist attack earlier this week has brought us together as a nation. From the smallest communities in our country to our nation's largest cities, Americans have shown their love and respect for one another in many different ways. By giving blood and sending donations, our nation's people have once again proven why we are the greatest nation on the face of this Earth.

I am extremely proud to join the members of this legislative body in asking each of our constituents to display the American flag over the course of the next month. Our unity in flying our nation's flag at our homes, in our businesses, in our communities, and where we worship will be yet one more way to show the entire world that we are one nation, stronger than we have ever been.

The lives of all United States citizens will be greatly altered because of this national tragedy. We stand here today encouraging American flags be flown in remembrance of those whose lives were lost to show both unity and strength in our nation. Terrorists may be able to destroy airplanes and buildings, but they will never be able to destroy the spirit of the American people. God Bless America.

Mr. HASTERT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share my grief and sorrow with the victims and the families of Tuesday's tragedies in New York, Washington and Western Pennsylvania.

As a nation, we must stand strong together to denounce these cowardly acts of War against our people, our nation, and our civilization. As a united people, we must show our colors to those with sinister hearts and minds throughout the world that we will not be deterred.

As Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, I am proud to join Minority Leader (DICK) GEPHARDT, Mrs. (JO ANN) EMERSON, and Mr. (IKE) SKELTON on this resolution urging our fellow Americans to fly the American flag for the next thirty days outside their homes, their businesses, public buildings, and places of worship. By doing so, we provide a physical tribute from coast-to-coast and around the globe in memory of those we lost and to show publicly our solidarity, resolve and strength as a Nation that these terrorist actions will not stand.

I know that ever since Tuesday morning our lives and our nation have been changed forever. And from that time forward, many Americans have asked how they can help. No matter where you live, by flying Old Glory on the Main Streets of Geneva, Illinois and Rolla, Missouri to big cities like Seattle, Washington and Miami, Florida, you will be sending a strong signal to millions of people here at home and abroad that the red, white and blue represents freedom and democracy and those ideals will live on.

[End Insert]

Mrs. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. LATOURETTE). All time for debate has expired.

Pursuant to the order of the House today, the concurrent resolution is considered as having been read for amendment and the previous question is ordered.

The question is on the concurrent resolution.

The concurrent resolution was agreed to.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.


U.S. Government Website

September 11 Page

127 Wall Street, New Haven, CT 06511.