Unanimous vote by Committee on Natural Resources sends bipartisan bill to the full House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources voted unanimously to approve HR 2717 and report the bill favorably for consideration by the full House of Representatives. Introduced earlier this year by U.S. Reps. Blake Moore (R-UT) and Marc Veasey (D-TX), the bipartisan HR 2717 – named in tribute to Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the last living recipient from World War II – would locate the new National Medal of Honor Monument near the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The vote by the full Committee comes after a hearing in the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands that featured testimony from Medal of Honor recipient and Master Chief Britt Slabinski. During the hearing, Slabinski spoke of the true meaning and symbolism behind the Medal of Honor, saying, “The Medal of Honor is a symbol. It is the embodiment of the ideals that built our nation. It is an aspiration of our still-forming more perfect union, and it is a reminder of the responsibility all Americans have to serve one another and a greater good.”
“Today’s vote is an important step towards realizing the long-held goal of constructing a national monument to our nation’s most courageous heroes,” said National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation President and CEO Chris Cassidy. “As Master Chief Slabinski noted in his testimony before the subcommittee, the Medal of Honor and its values unite all Americans. I am thankful that the Committee shared that view and supported this bill, and I encourage the full House of Representatives to swiftly pass this important legislation.”
At the Committee markup, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) praised the bill, saying, “It’s time to give these American heroes a place of permanent honor on one of our most iconic sites.”
This bill follows Congress’ 2021 unanimous approval, two years ago today, of legislation authorizing the creation of the Monument. According to HR 2717, the National Medal of Honor Monument will serve not only as a “respectful extension” of Lincoln’s legacy as the creator of the Medal, but also as a tribute to “what ordinary people can accomplish when working for the greater good.”
In his testimony, Master Chief Slabinski noted that the original plans for West Potomac Park—the setting of the Lincoln Memorial—included two additional components extending to the edge of the reflecting pool, but for unknown reasons, the final pieces were never built. With the current ongoing renovations to improve and preserve the Lincoln Memorial, “we believe there is no better time to revisit the original intent for this area of the National Mall and in the most deferential of ways create a lasting physical representation of the bond between Lincoln and the Medal of Honor,” he said.
In a time of deep division, the potential of the National Medal of Honor Monument to bring the country together and inspire future generations to uphold American values has been noted by a bipartisan chorus in places such as CNN, Washington Examiner, and RealClearPolitics.
The creation of the monument in Washington, D.C. will complement the future National Medal of Honor Museum, scheduled to open in early 2025 in Arlington, TX. No federal funds will be used to build the monument. The National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation will be responsible for raising funds to cover expenses associated with the project.
About the Museum and Monument: The National Medal of Honor Museum, Monument and Leadership Institute will inspire Americans by honoring and preserving the history of the highest military decoration awarded for valor in combat. Serving as a national landmark – and located in America’s heartland in Arlington, Texas – the Museum will provide an unrivaled visitor experience and illustrate the historical thread of sacrifice, patriotism and courage that runs through all U.S. military service members, past and present. Beyond its state-of-the-art, interactive experiences, a critical part of the Museum’s mission will be to use the stories of Medal of Honor recipients to inspire their fellow Americans and motivate them to be their best selves.
A National Monument in Washington, D.C., will commemorate the service and sacrifice of the bravest and most decorated members of the U.S. Armed Forces. To be located in the nation’s capital, it will give all Americans the opportunity to reflect on the courage and patriotism that safeguard freedom and democracy.