American Lawmakers Vow to Support the Sikh Drive to Enter United States Armed Forces

May 21, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Sikh Council on Religion and Education

Sat Sri Akal, the traditional Sikh greeting, is how Congressmen from various states, one after the other, came to welcome the Sikhs and also commit to taking action to remove restrictions which preclude Sikhs from serving in the United States Armed Forces. The Sikh American Heritage Dinner, organized by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), brought together over 225 Sikhs from all over the country to join in the political outreach to the leaders of America in the Hart Senate Office Building with a pristine panoramic view of the Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument.

Congressman Ed Royce, a highly-ranked Republican member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Jim McDermott, a Democrat and wellknown expert on Indian issues, powerfully gave their support to bring this issue on the House floor to press the Pentagon to admit Sikhs in the U.S. Military. Both are co-chairs of the India Caucus.

Prompted by Dr. Rajwant Singh, Chairman of SCORE, Congressman Ed Royce, said, I will work to make sure that Sikhs are admitted to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces without any restrictions. Three weeks ago he was part of the Congressional delegation, led by Houser Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Howard Berman, which went to the Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple. Ed Royce was honored with the Bhagat Singh Thind award by SCORE.

The reception room was full to the brim and Sikhs from all over America felt elated with the responses they got from their elected leaders. Sikhs came on a weekday evening from Florida, Arizona, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, California, Illinois, Ohio, Texas, and New Mexico to make their presence felt. According to Dr. Rajwant Singh, "We are so glad that we are getting this support from these important leaders in Washington on the issue of Sikhs in the army. We must continue to press hard throughout the nation."