THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN AND GOOD MORNING TO YOU AND TO MY SUBCOMMITTEE COLLEAGUES. IT IS GOOD TO SEE YOU ALL AND TO BE BACK IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
WHILE I AM GLAD TO BE HERE, I DO WISH THAT THE TOPIC FOR THIS MORNING’S HEARING WAS A DIFFERENT ONE.
WHEN THIS STORY FIRST BROKE IN DECEMBER AND SERIOUS CHARGES WERE RAISED ALLEGING THAT THE WHITE HOUSE WAS SELLING PLOTS IN ARLINGTON CEMETERY, I WAS FRANKLY SHOCKED.
AS A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS, AN ARMY VETERAN, AND THE SON OF A WORLD WAR I VETERAN WHO WAS AWARDED THE SILVER STAR FOR VALIANT SERVICE, I NATURALLY FEEL VERY STRONGLY THAT VETERANS WHO GAVE SO MUCH TO SERVE THEIR NATION IN TIME OF WAR OR PEACE DESERVE THE HIGHEST PRIORITY AND CONSIDERATION FOR BURIAL IN THIS GREAT AND HISTORIC NATIONAL CEMETERY.
LIKE ALL OF YOU, I HEARD FROM ANGRY VETERANS. THEY WERE HURT AND DEMANDED ANSWERS.
I FELT THE ALLEGATIONS WERE SO SERIOUS AND UPSETTING TO OUR NATION’S VETERANS, THAT THE SUBCOMMITTEE SHOULD HAVE IMMEDIATELY HELD HEARINGS TO GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THE STORY.
NOW TWO MONTHS LATER THE SMOKE HAS CLEARED. THE FACTS ARE OUT AND WHILE WE ALL CAN AGREE THE WAIVER PROCESS AT ARLINGTON IS FLAWED AND NEEDS TO BE TIGHTENED, THERE IS NO MAJOR SCANDAL TO BE FOUND.
THE GAO REPORT BEING RELEASED HERE TODAY MAKES IT CLEAR THAT NO EVIDENCE HAS BEEN FOUND TO SUPPORT THE EARLY AND FREQUENT MEDIA REPORTS THAT POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS PLAYED A ROLE IN THE WAIVER PROCESS.
IN THE SPIRIT OF THE BIPARTISANSHIP ON WHICH WE PRIDE OURSELVES ON THIS COMMITTEE, I THINK IT SERVES NO PURPOSE TO REHASH THIS WHOLE SORRY TALE.
I SINCERELY WISH WE WERE, INSTEAD, FOCUSING ON THE LEGISLATION THAT WILL BE INTRODUCED IN THE NEAR FUTURE WHICH SEEKS TO REFORM THE WAIVER PROCESS.
OUR VETERANS DESERVE TO KNOW THAT THE LIMITED SPACE LEFT AT ARLINGTON TRULY BELONGS TO THEM. THE SOONER WE CAN ASSURE THEM THAT IS THE CASE, THE BETTER. I AM READY TO GET TO WORK.
THANK YOU MR. CHAIRMAN AND I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard