Madam Speaker, it's no big surprise to me that the peaceniks out in Berkeley, California don't know the first thing about peace, but their latest attack on the real proprietors of peace has stirred up a firestorm. Just in case you haven't heard, the city of Berkeley passed a resolution telling the local U.S. Marine Corps recruiting station that is was "not welcome in the city and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders." Mayor Tom Bates said, "The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here and they should leave." The city of Berkeley has even issued a permit for the radical anti-military group "Code Pink" to use the parking spot once reserved for the Marine Recruiting Station. Code Pink has parked a panel truck displaying "peace at any price" type statements in front of the recruiting office.
Well, let me remind Mr. Bates that he enjoys the rights and freedoms known only to Americans because the Marines are here. And as for me and the rest of the freedom loving Americans, we hope they never leave. These defenders of democracy deserve better than Berkeley's arrogant disapproval. Berkeley's deplorable anti-Marine city leaders must still have a 60's peacenik hippie mentality that world peace can occur by sitting around smoking dope and banging on the tambourine.
Life in la-la land is all daisy chains and braids, but it's just not reality. Reality is that freedom doesn't come free. Twenty-four of America's finest from my 2nd Congressional District area in Texas have given their lives defending freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seven of them were Marines. Their bravery, dedication, and patriotism will not be tarnished by the foolish words of a few. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten by their friends, their family and freedom-loving peoples throughout the world.
Berkeley's latest onslaught of the Marines is just another attack in a long history on our country. It is against Federal law to willfully obstruct the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States. American taxpayer money should not be used to support those cities that break our laws. Berkeley should lose all Federal funding for their smug denouncement of the Marine Corps. Patriotic Americans should not subsidize cities that tell the Marines to "get out of town."
Now, I am a fierce proponent of the First Amendment protecting freedom of speech. The city of Berkeley can bash the Marines in their resolutions, but freedom of speech is not free of consequences. And the consequences should be loss of Federal funds appropriated to the city.
I believe that we must respect those that afforded us those rights and hold them in the highest esteem for their sacrifices. And like it or not, it is the U.S. military that has always been on the front lines to defend the liberties of all Americans, even the hippies in Berkeley.
February 19th marks the 63rd anniversary of the Battle of Iwo Jima. The month long battle against Imperial Japan resulted in 26,000 U.S. casualties, mostly young Marines. The quiet riverbank of the Potomac is home to the Iwo Jima Memorial. It is a solemn reminder that the Marines are "always faithful" to the United States of America. Joe Rosenthal took his famous photograph of five Marines and a Navy Corpsman hosting Old Glory above Mount Suribachi. Of the six flag-raisers in the Memorial, three were killed after the stars and stripes were raised above the volcano. One was Harlan Block from South Texas.
The Marines go where others fear to tread, and the timid are not found. They fight for all American values, including the rights of people in Berkeley to say what they want. But the few--the noble few--the proud--the Marines deserve the honor, respect, and thanks of a grateful Nation.
Ronald Reagan best summed it up when he said, "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem." And as for the unwelcome Marines out in Berkeley: send 'em all to Texas! We'll have a parade, fly the flag and the high school band will play the Marine Hymn. Oooh Rah! Semper Fi!
And that's just the way it is.