Friday, April 30, 2004


Why on earth should it take 59 years to erect a monument to "The Greatest Generation" and their contributions to freedom?

Certainly, I believe, it takes a while for the import of such an undertaking to transform from "event" to "historical watershed" in the minds of nations. And no doubt immediately after WWII there was war fatigue that couldn't abide further reflection on the war to dampen the national celebration of its end.

But there is more to the story.

A handful of folks who do not come from The America I Live In blocked this monument citing EPA regulations and architectural style objections at a time when the Veterans of this war were dying at a rate of 1100 per day.

Finally a resolute congressman stepped forward and did what, undoubtedly, an overwhelming majority of Americans felt was the right thing to do.

As a result, The Greatest Generation has its memorial. As it should be, but would not be if we continued to allow a minority to dissuade us from doing that which is right.
Led by the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, foes of the project objected that it marred the open sweep of the Mall and intruded on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial.

They also complained that the National Park Service violated federal laws and regulations by pushing through the project without undertaking the proper environmental impact studies.

Others complained that architect Friedrich St. Florian's original design was too massive and resembled the neoclassical Fascist style used by German architect Albert Speer for Nazi monuments and buildings.

Numerous lawsuits were filed to block the World War II project, but none succeeded. Some 22 public hearings were held, many marked by angry debate.

Finally, in 2001, in 2001, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a World War II veteran, introduced legislation that virtually exempted the memorial project from any law, federal regulation or judicial review. It was approved overwhelmingly.

"We want to be there when this memorial is opened," Stevens said.

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