HONORING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF MACEDONIAN INDEPENDENCE
(Extensions of Remarks - September 08, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 135 (Thursday, September 8, 2016)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1221-E1222]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




        HONORING THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF MACEDONIAN INDEPENDENCE

                                 ______
                                 

                         HON. CANDICE S. MILLER

                              of michigan

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, September 8, 2016

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize the 
Macedonian-American community in honor of their homeland's 25th 
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 democratic path and to begin a 
new era in their history. This 25th anniversary of their independence 
provides us all an opportunity to recognize the Macedonian-American 
community's significant contributions within the United States.
  But first, I would like to ask for a moment of silence for the 24 
victims of devastating floods that affected Macedonia's capital Skopje 
(Scop-yay) last month, which left hundreds injured and thousands 
displaced. Our own government provided over $50,000 in aid to help 
these flood victims and repair schools in time for the start of the 
school year.

[[Page E1222]]

  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 35 colleagues, in 
cosponsoring H. Res. 56 in support of Macedonia's NATO accession as 
soon as possible.
  With American support, Macedonia has become a model of stability in a 
region known for ethnic strife and tension. Up until earlier this year, 
Macedonia was struck with the unprecedented refugee crisis facing 
Europe, as hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees fled war-torn 
countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In one year, an 
estimated one million migrants traveled through Macedonia, and the 
country's institutions organized 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, especially following the slated December 11, 2016 elections, 
which will prove a true test of its democracy.
  As a way to recognize and strengthen this strategic U.S.-Macedonia 
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-American community in the United States.
  Michigan's 10th District has one of the largest populations of 
Macedonian-Americans in the Nation. 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 this important 25th anniversary of 
Macedonia's independence.
  Long Live Macedonia (Da Zivee Makedonija)
  Long Live the United States (Da Zivee Amerika)

                          ____________________