D.C. fights Congress on national World War I memorial

January 24, 2012

By Tom Howell Jr.-The Washington Times

Officials in the District are accustomed to asking Congress for full voting rights on behalf of the city’s 600,000 residents or for greater control of city finances – and getting no satisfaction.

So when members of Congress proposed the “nationalization” of the District of Columbia World War I Memorial — the only memorial on the Mall exclusively for D.C. veterans — city officials did not jump to support the plan.

“The District of Columbia Memorial is for the people of the District of Columbia and it will never be otherwise,” Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting member of Congress, said Monday.

She made the comment a day before the House Natural Resources subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands is scheduled to consider a bill that would rededicate the city’s memorial as the District of Columbia and National World War I Memorial.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Ted Poe, Texas Republican, and a companion bill by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, also would rededicate the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo., as the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

No national memorial to the “great war” has been built on the Mall, and a 2003 law essentially bans new memorials on the strip of federal land. The Washington, D.C. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorialdedicated in October marked the end of large-scale construction.

The D.C. memorial, dedicated by President Hoover in 1931, honors the 26,000 city residents who fought in World War I and, among them, the 499 who never made it home.

The World War I Memorial Foundation supports Mr. Poe’s bill as a way to highlight the coming centennial of the 1914-18 conflict to make sure it is not marginalized in the annals of U.S. history.

To r ead more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/23/dc-fights-congress-on-national-world-war-i-memoria/

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