“D.C.’s been unable to take trade-offs, and that has hampered its ability to sometimes cut the deal,” said former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), one-time chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “But that’s a decision the city leaders have to make. I think it’s a very difficult decision for them.”
District’s World War I Memorial Spared
An agreement has been reached to maintain D.C.’s little-known World War I memorial as a local symbol for the capital city’s veterans.
After efforts earlier this year to nationalize the memorial stirred strong feelings on both sides of the issue, lawmakers decided to look elsewhere in the city for a suitable spot to either erect a new memorial or expand another existing structure. One possibility is the sculpture of Gen. John Pershing near the White House.
“I am pleased to see that we may have found a way for future generations to continue to honor their sacrifice,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) said in a statement.
Cleaver won inclusion of language in a measure by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) that would simultaneously give Kansas City’s World War I memorial “official” status, along with the D.C. memorial.
Poe has maintained that all he and his supporters want is an official World War I memorial somewhere in the District of Columbia.
D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) saw the proposal as an usurpation of the city’s monument to its own residents who served in the Great War “built with the blood and treasure of D.C. residents.”
One party is poised to lose under the deal: the World War I Memorial Foundation, an organization run by a half-dozen private citizens that sees the D.C. memorial as the best and perhaps only channel for a national monument.
Edwin Fountain, the foundation’s director, said he doubts a substitute spot could be found and approved before the end of the 112th Congress, and after nearly six years of lobbying, he said the organization might give up.