America celebrates freedom

Published 12:37 am Monday, July 2, 2007

By Staff
This week, Americans throughout the country and across the world will celebrate the 231st anniversary of the birth of the United States.
Many will commemorate the fourth of July in traditional ways - picnics, baseball games, fireworks, and family trips.
In the midst of this celebration, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on what it took for us as a nation to reach this birthday as well as what a remarkable achievement it is for the United States to be the oldest continuous democratic nation anywhere in the world.
Take a moment to also look at our flag and reflect on the importance of each star and stripe. When you read the newspaper or watch the evening news, think of the precious freedom of speech our forefathers fought to guarantee. Tell a veteran &#8220thank you” for his or her service.
Visiting Washington?
Many Americans will celebrate the fourth of July with a trip to our nation's capital. If you are planning a trip to Washington, D.C. in the coming weeks, I encourage you to contact our office.
Last year, my staff and I compiled a brochure of places to see while visiting Washington, D.C. While this is not an exhaustive list of things to do in our nation's capital, it does include many of my favorite places. If you would like to request a copy of this free brochure, please call my office at 800-288-8721.
From monuments to museums to memorials, there are so many things to do and see in this fascinating city so rich with history and so full of places to explore.
The must-see stop on any visit to the nation's capital is the U.S. Capitol building itself. With at least a week's notice, my office can schedule a guided tour by a member of my staff, Monday through Friday, or you can receive a tour from the Capitol Guide Service on a first-come, first-served basis.
If your time in D.C. does not allow for a tour of the Capitol, I would encourage you to call my office and request passes to visit the House gallery, where you can view the proceedings on the House floor, when the House is in session.
Please keep in mind there are security restrictions in place throughout the nation's capital that require visitors to plan their trips in advance.
For example, tours of the White House are subject to strict U.S. Secret Service approval. Tours can only be requested for groups of 10 or more people and must be requested through my office at least three months in advance. Unfortunately, many of the tour requests are not approved because of the volume of requests made each day.
Other popular landmarks offering congressional reservations include the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the State Department, and the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Congressional reservations are limited, so I encourage you to contact my office three months ahead of the visit. Because reservations are limited, I do give preference to the residents of Alabama's First District.
Remember the monuments, memorials, and many of the museums throughout the city do not require reservations and are free to the public.
If we can ever be of service, do not hesitate to call my office toll free at 1-800-288-8721 or visit my website at .
Constituent Services
One of the most important duties of my job representing the Alabama's First Congressional District is working on your behalf in your efforts to deal with federal bureaucracies.
Whether it's a problem you are having getting your veterans benefits restored or obtaining your IRS refund, my office can assist you with cutting through the red tape of federal agencies. While we cannot make an agency decide a case in your favor, we can assist you by seeing that it gets fair consideration.
We have assisted residents who have had problems with their Social Security and Medicare benefits and those who have had problems with the Internal Revenue Service.
Veterans with questions concerning claims for VA pensions, disability benefits, care in VA hospitals, burial benefits, and military records have also contacted my office for assistance.
Many residents of south Alabama have used my office as a resource, and I encourage you to do the same.
The Federal Privacy Act requires us to have written authorization to act on your behalf. To comply, Privacy Act forms can be obtained on my website, from my Mobile and Baldwin County offices, or you may simply send a brief description of your problem. If you write, call, or email, please include your Social Security number and/or VA number.

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