The office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) announced that a bipartisan bill to 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 today passed as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (NDAA). The NDAA is expected to pass the House tomorrow. Norton is an original cosponsor of the bill, which was introduced by Congressmen Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) and Ted Poe (R-TX). Norton successfully fought congressional attempts to redesignate 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. After Norton got her colleagues to agree that the D.C. War Memorial would remain dedicated exclusively to D.C. veterans, they worked 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." The amendment passed today 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) introduced Senate companion legislation last month.
"The D.C. War Memorial is a historic but local memorial that deeply symbolizes the continuing struggle of District residents, particularly our veterans, who served without equal congressional representation, equal rights as citizens, or equal control over their local government," said Norton. "I am pleased that, with today's bill, this status will be protected and maintained, while simultaneously achieving another important goal -- giving Pershing Park the attention and care it deserves to honor World War I veterans."