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June 22, 2021

My Turn, Michael Chapman: Is Budd’s staff accurately describing his opinion?

By Michael Chapman

Memorial Day has come and gone, and I would like to thank everyone who made our Memorial Day events a success.

There were two services this year in the Salisbury area. At both of them combined, there were more than 100 people in attendance. Most of those were veterans and families of those lost in war. I have been trying to point out to our elected officials that in general most Americans do not understand the importance of Memorial Day and many times get it confused with Veterans Day.

Rep. Ted Budd’s words were meaningful in a column published May 30 (“Remember real reason for Memorial Day”). However, actions are the most important step to educating our populous and their children to the importance of Memorial Day. I have submitted a proposed act to many elected officials, including Rep. Budd. The new act is similar to the original 10-year commission of 2000, with the biggest exception being that there is a vision plan to implement education around the entire United States. The previous commission was located in D.C. and was not able to penetrate the rural communities as was needed. My proposed act would educate Americans and their children on the importance of Memorial Day and how to pay proper respect to our fallen year-round. It would involve all of the communities across America.

Rep. Budd’s staff has done him no favors with responses as to why he will not support this Memorial Day Act. They say that the congressman is against expanding government. Yet, Rep. Budd cosponsored in 2019 a five-year, $10 million education bill to be given to the Holocaust Museum that already receives $61 million per year. His staff also told me I said the original commission did not accomplish its goals. That was correct, and I reminded him our own federal government rarely accomplishes its yearly goals while spending billions of dollars. The staff then told me that the first commission was difficult to get passed in Congress.

I’m not sure where he came up with this, as I gave his staff the timeline of the 2000 act, which was cosponsored by 21 well-known senators. The act went through the House and Senate with unanimous consent in 80 days — unheard of in the scheme of D.C. So, I again ask of Rep. Budd, has your staff presented your thoughts to me accurately? Has it been a misunderstanding? Is it too much to spend $300,000 per year to honor 1.8 million men and women killed since 1900? I truly pray not!

Memorial Day’s meaning is fading away into a long weekend of barbecues and business sales, with little regard to taking a moment of the day to thank those men and women who died in service to their country to keep us free.

It is our country’s obligation to “remember and honor” those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.

Michael Chapman is a Gold Star family member whose brother, Christopher, was killed during Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

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