Jul 07 2017
This week, Americans celebrated our Independence and the sacrifices our service members have made to secure our freedoms. Over 240 years ago, we declared our independence from Great Britain and moved to secure our right to be a free nation. Men and women across our district and across our country put their lives on the line to protect our country and fellow citizens, and some will make the ultimate sacrifice, losing their life in the line of duty. Remembering those who have served and sacrificed so much to serve our country deserve to be memorialized in our nation's capital.
Since 1986, the Commemorative Works Act has regulated the approval and construction of commemorative works on the National Mall and the surrounding areas. Commemorative works such as the Vietnam War Memorial, Korean War Memorial, and other works help honor those who have served and protected our basic rights and freedoms. The Commemorative Works Act has since been amended several times to reflect the changing needs regarding the construction of these works.
Close to 7,000 service members have died in the line of duty, and over 50,000 soldiers have sustained wounds from the War on Terror. In regard to the ongoing conflict, our service members and veterans should be formally recognized and deserve an official memorial at Washington's National Mall, alongside the memorials that recognize our nation's soldiers and veterans in the past.
That is why I was proud to cosponsor the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act, which would allow the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to raise funds and construct a memorial to commemorate the members of the Armed Services that served in the fight against terrorism. The bipartisan legislation would exempt the memorial from the existing law, which requires a commemorative work to be commissioned at least 10 years after the conflict has ended. In regard to the continuous fight against terrorism, this exemption would allow for the all the service members who will fight to protect our country from terrorism to be honored.
The legislation has the support of 16 veteran service organizations who recognize the importance of honoring the service members and fallen warriors who served in the Global War on Terror with a memorial in Washington D.C. We rely on the selfless service and excellence of our service members who fight and risk their lives to protect our freedoms. I am grateful to our men and women who have not only served but given their lives in the global fight against terrorism.
With the passing of the Fourth of July, we should cherish the freedoms and liberties that bring Americans together and the people who protect our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. With the passage of the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act, we can formally honor our service members who protect us from the threat of terrorism.