National Trust Endorses Congressional Legislation to Protect World War I Memorials
Statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Today, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) introduced the Honoring World War I Memorials Act of 2017 in the U.S. House of Representatives to establish a grant program for rehabilitating memorials dedicated to the millions of Americans who served in World War I. The Department of Veterans Affairs would distribute the grants to assist in the restoration of World War I memorials owned or managed by nonprofit organizations and state and local governments. The following is a statement by Stephanie K. Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:
“We enthusiastically endorse the Honoring World War I Memorials Act to give these iconic memorials the protection they deserve. This legislation helps bring much needed focus on the important role of World War I memorials and ensures that the sacrifices of those who served in the war are not forgotten and, in fact, honored.
“Though often neglected, World War I memorials across this nation are some of the most unique and functional community resources. In Hawaii, for example, the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, along the ocean, is the only memorial in the country that functions as a saltwater swimming pool. Named one of our National Treasures in 2014, the Natatorium is the most recognizable representation of Hawaii’s participation in the war and a testament to the islands’ swimming traditions.
“Today, as we prepare to observe Veterans Day, the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium and many other war memorials are closed to the public or suffer from disrepair. And as America joins the world in marking the centennial of the war, we urge members of Congress to rise to the occasion and support the Honoring World War I Memorials Act of 2017."