HONORING THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF MACEDONIAN INDEPENDENCE
(Extensions of Remarks - September 08, 2015)

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[Congressional Record Volume 161, Number 128 (Tuesday, September 8, 2015)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E1237]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        HONORING THE 24TH ANNIVERSARY OF MACEDONIAN INDEPENDENCE

                                 ______
                                 

                         HON. CANDICE S. MILLER

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, September 8, 2015

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 
Macedonian-American community in honor of their homeland's Independence 
Day. The people of the Republic of Macedonia voted on September 8, 
1991, to officially gain independence from the former Yugoslavia. By 
voting for independence, the people decided that it was time for their 
country to forge its own path and to begin a new era in their history. 
This 24th anniversary of their independence provides us all an 
opportunity to recognize the Macedonian-American community's 
significant contributions within the United States.
  Since 2001, Macedonia has been one of the staunchest allies of the 
United States in the War on Terror. Macedonia was the fourth and fifth 
largest contributor of troops, per capita, in the mission in 
Afghanistan. Macedonian troops guarded American troops at the compound 
in Kabul. And, Macedonia welcomed 50,000 and 400,000 refugees during 
the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo, respectively. For a country of little 
over two million, Macedonia has done its fair share and deserves to be 
in NATO. On that note, I ask that you join me, and 34 colleagues, in 
cosponsoring H. Res. 56 in support of Macedonia's NATO accession at the 
Warsaw Summit in 2016.
  This month will also mark the 20th year of full diplomatic relations 
between the United States and Macedonia. With American support, 
Macedonia has become a model of stability in a region known for ethnic 
strife and tension. Recently, Macedonia has been struck with the 
unprecedented refugee crisis facing Europe, as thousands of migrants 
and refugees have fled war-torn countries in the Middle East and North 
Africa. This year alone, an estimated 70,000 migrants have traveled 
through Macedonia, and the Macedonian government is attempting to 
organize an orderly response to the influx of people, including 
organizing daily trains to ferry migrants from the southern to the 
northern border. If the partnership between the United States and 
Macedonia is to remain strong, the country needs our continued support. 
I also use this opportunity to urge Macedonia's leaders to continue 
strengthening their institutions and reforming its democracy and rule 
of law.
  As a way to recognize and strengthen this partnership, I started the 
first Congressional Caucus on Macedonia and Macedonian-Americans. This 
Caucus is a bipartisan group of members of Congress dedicated to 
maintaining and strengthening a positive and mutually beneficial 
relationship between the United States and the Republic of Macedonia, 
as well as advocating for the concerns and interests of the Macedonian 
community in the United States.
  Michigan's 10th District has one of the largest populations of 
Macedonian-Americans in the Nation. Over Labor Day weekend, St. Mary 
Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral in Sterling Heights, Michigan hosted the 
41st Annual American-Canadian Macedonian Orthodox Convention, bringing 
thousands of guests from throughout the U.S. and Canada to my District. 
I would like to acknowledge their contributions to our District and our 
State, and I look forward to continuing that relationship as we deal 
with the problems facing our great Nation.
  Again, congratulations to all of Macedonian heritage for their 
achievements as we commemorate the anniversary of Macedonia's 
independence.

                          ____________________