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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Once a source of controversy, Beverly Young's T-shirt now serves as a symbol of free speech

Beverly Young's T-shirt in the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Bill Adair

Beverly Young's T-shirt in the Newseum in Washington, D.C.



The T-shirt that got the wife of Florida Rep. C.W. Bill Young kicked out of the 2006 State of the Union now serves as a symbol of free speech in a Washington museum.

Beverly Young wore the “Support the Troops” T-shirt and was ejected about 15 minutes into President George W. Bush’s speech. Police said the message was an unlawful demonstration and that she could not return. (Before the speech, antiwar demonstrator Cindy Sheehan was thrown out for wearing a shirt that read "2,245 dead. How many more?”)

The next morning, Rep. Young waved the Support the Troops shirt in a fiery speech on the House floor, accusing the Capitol police of overreacting and lying about what happened.

"Because she had on a shirt that someone didn't like that said support our troops, she was kicked out of this gallery," Young said. "Shame, shame."

The T-shirt now hangs in the Newseum.

Mr. Young, who died in 2013 after more than 40 years in Congress, began to change his support for war late in his career.

"I think we should remove ourselves from Afghanistan as quickly as we can," he told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board in 2012. "I just think we're killing kids that don't need to die."

Tomorrow, President Barack Obama delivers his final State of the Union.

[Last modified: Monday, January 11, 2016 1:56pm]


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