D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser rode on a bus filled with veterans carrying 51-star flags down Pennsylvania Avenue on Monday to raise awareness that the District wants to be the 51st state.
More 51-star flags have been lining Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between the White House and the Capitol, since late last week. They're intended to send a message to Congress and the rest of the country.
Lead by Bowser and members of the D.C. Council, those participating in the parade waved flags and chanted "Fifty-one, fifty-one, fifty-one!", hoping to send a message that D.C. is ready for statehood.
On the bus were 51 veterans, all D.C. residents, including 67-year-old Bernie Siler. The retired Army lieutenant colonel hoisted the final symbolic flag into place.
"I felt like I was putting it there for all the veterans who live in D.C. and fought for our country and never got to vote on whether we should go or not," Siler said.
Bowser orchestrated Monday's event to raise awareness about a congressional hearing set for Thursday, when members of the U.S. House will hear testimony on whether D.C. should become the nation's 51st state.
"The time for statehood for Washington, D.C., is now," Bowser said.
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Bowser knows Republicans who oppose statehood will have tough questions, including questions about D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans, who is currently under federal investigation
"We will not be tricked into that discussion," Bowser said.
"We won't be dissuaded by anyone who wants to focus on one person, or one man, where talking about 700,000 people who pay taxes who do not have a vote in that Congress," she said.
About 100 people came out to watch the bus roll down Pennsylvania Avenue. It stopped briefly in front of Trump International Hotel.
While the bill to make D.C. the 51st state has enough support in the majority-Democrat House to pass, if it gets to the majority-Republican Senate, it would be a much tougher battle to pass.