With Congress back in session, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) plans to turn up the pressure on her colleagues to approve legislation requiring the flags of the District and U.S. territories to be displayed at military ceremonies where the flags of all 50 states are flown.
Norton’s office said she would lead a series of “special order” speeches Wednesday on the House floor after the chamber concludes its regular legislative business, with delegates from U.S. territories also expected to participate. Their goal is to encourage the Senate to include in the 2013 defense authorization bill the same language the House has passed on the subject.
The issue came to Norton’s attention when she was contacted by the family of U.S. Navy Seaman Jonathan Rucker, a District native. His mother, an investigator with the District’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, was frustrated that the D.C. flag wasn’t displayed during her son’s graduation ceremony at Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago.
It turns out that the U.S. Army displays the D.C. flag at such ceremonies, but the other branches don’t always do so, according to Norton. The House approved legislation, sponsored by Del. Gregorio Sablan (D) of the Northern Mariana Islands, mandating the change when it moved its version of the defense bill.
Norton highlighted the topic with Mayor Vincent Gray and other city leaders at a news conference on Veterans Day. They also want President Obama to direct all federal agencies to display the D.C. flag alongside those of the states.