Chicago Sun-Times
Staff reports on all things politics - from City Hall to Springfield to Washington, D.C.

Inauguration 2013: Tammy Duckworth takes stage in Washington

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duckworth_korecki_jan19.jpgWASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraqi war veteran, told a cheering crowd on the National Mall this afternoon there were more ways to serve the country than just joining the military.

Duckworth, who lost her legs in battle, urged people to volunteer at food pantries, or donate.

"Hunger is a very big issue for me," Duckworth told the Sun-Times later. She said for a period when her father was laid off from his job her family struggled for food. Duckworth said she and her brother would eat half of their lunch at school and save the other half for dinner.

"Only 1 percent of Americans choose to wear the uniform but there are so many other ways to serve your country," Duckworth said. "Whether it's volunteering at a soup kitchen or nursing home, tutoring at a school, or helping to build affordable housing."

Duckworth's remarks today were part of National Day of Service, an event organized by Chelsea Clinton that honors Martin Luther King Jr. and urges Americans to give back to their communities. The Obamas started the tradition four years ago to kick off inauguration weekend with a national day of servce.

Many Illinois reps were out doing service projects in Washington D.C. today. That included U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill) who brought books to a children's hospital. Duckworth helped paint classrooms.

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As predicted, Duckwort is more interested in playing Washington insider than representing and meeting with the good citizens of the 8th district.

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