Dedicated in 1931 with the greatest of fanfare, the World War I Memorial now sits along the Tidal Basin in crumbling ruin, no longer honoring the men who gave their lives, limbs, sanity and youth for their country. Its condition falls far beyond shabby and seedy. It is our National Disgrace. We have dishonored our WWI veterans by allowing this once proud monument to stand in such ill-repair.
When the monument was dedicated in 1931, John Phillip Sousa conducted the dedication and President Herbert Hoover was in attendance. Time, however, has not been kind to this 78 year old dedication to the national triumph of good over evil. The following video gives us a glimpse:
Yesterday the Department of Interior announced that $7.3 million dollars will go towards the restoration of the World War I Memorial! Not only will this momument undergo a face lift, but many other of our monuments and national treasures will undergo restoration.
According to the Washington Post:
Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced that the government will spend $7.3 million on its restoration, along with $69.5 million in the Washington region to fix other eyesores, repair the Jefferson Memorial seawall and rehabilitate infrastructure in Rock Creek Park.
More than $30 million will go to fix the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, and several million will go to the Jefferson Memorial, where the seawall has been slowly slipping into the Tidal Basin for years.
The government will also spend $12 million on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, about $3 million on Arlington House, the historic mansion in Arlington Cemetery, and $5 million on Rock Creek Park, the department said.
Outside the immediate area, it will spend $9.4 million on historic overlooks along Skyline Drive, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, and $108,000 to preserve headstones at the Antietam Civil War battlefield, near Sharpsburg, Md.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the funding is part of $750 million for the nation’s parks that comes from this year’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The money will go to 750 park projects across the country, he said.
The beleaguered Mall has an almost $400 million maintenance backlog, and Congress stripped $200 million in similar rehabilitation funding from stimulus legislation in January.
Now funding is back. The department said it picked worthy repair projects from national parks across the country.
Strange that during more conservative times more hasn’t been done to preserve our national treasures. There is something about taking care of what you have, having good stewardship of the earth, and guarding that which makes us uniquely American that should be a sign of having good National Values. If restoration work is considered ‘tax and spend,’ then go for it! We owe this one to many veterans of another era who were just as American as we are.