The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that Norton is an original cosponsor of a bipartisan bill introduced yesterday by Congressmen Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Ted Poe (R-TX) that would redesignate Pershing Park, a federal park in the District of Columbia, as the "National World War I Memorial" and preserve the District of Columbia War Memorial for D.C. veterans only. Norton fought attempts to nationalize the D.C. War Memorial as the national World War I memorial, while also working to create a national World War I memorial in the District. Norton and her colleagues previously agreed that the D.C. War Memorial would remain dedicated exclusively to D.C. veterans, and that they would continue to work together to pursue a number of other options for a national World War I memorial in the District, and to re-designate the Liberty Memorial of Kansas City, Missouri as the "National World War I Museum and Memorial." Today's bill would accomplish those goals. The agreement came after Poe and Cleaver introduced a bill last Congress that would have nationalized the D.C. War Memorial. Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) yesterday introduced Senate companion legislation.
"I thank Congressmen Cleaver and Poe for continuing to work with me to achieve our dual goals -- dedicating a national World War I memorial in the Capital while preserving the D.C. War Memorial for the D.C. veterans it was built to commemorate. I also thank Senators McCaskill and Blunt for introducing the Senate companion bill. Although Pershing Park was intended to be a national memorial to World War I veterans, it has not been given its proper recognition, honor and care, in part because most of the veterans it honors are long dead and are a part of the nation's history. However, Pershing Park, which is beautiful and centrally located near the White House, will now get the attention it deserves. The D.C. War Memorial, on the other hand, is a historic but local memorial that deeply symbolizes the continuing struggle of District residents, particularly our veterans, who, like the District's World War I veterans, served without equal congressional representation, equal rights as citizens, and equal control over their local government."