WASHINGTON, July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) today unanimously endorsed the rainbow pool site on the national mall for the development of the World War II Memorial. The CFA Chairman J. Carter Brown, in noting the importance of World War II said, "This site is so appropriate for an event of this significance. We will never find a subject more fitting for this site." The commission recommended that the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) re-evaluate certain aspects of the design. In his comments Brown said, "the paving could be improved and softened with various plantings to keep the park-like character." The CFA also asked the ABMC to re-examine the height of the beams and columns and endorsed the reconfigured Rainbow Pool and waterfall. The National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) will review the design concept on July 31. During her statement of support for the memorial, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) announced that 158 members of Congress have signed a letter circulated by herself and Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) fully backing the site and design and calling for quick action on the design approval. She also presented a letter to the commission from the U.S. Senate in support of the monument. The letter was signed by Senators Ted Stevens, Daniel Inouye, and others. Kaptur initiated the legislation in the House which eventually authorized the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to manage design, construction and fund-raising. In letters to Brown and Harvey Gantt, NCPC chairman, House members expressed their "unequivocal support for the expeditious construction" of "a long overdue tribute to a generation of men and women who saved democracy for the modern world." Both commissions, as well as the National Capital Memorial Commission and the Secretary of Interior, approved the Rainbow Pool site in 1995. In his testimony before the commission, Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander-in-Chief James E. Nier reminded CFA commissioners that President Clinton dedicated the site on Veterans Day 1995. "World War II veterans joined the President in sprinkling soil from 14 overseas World War II cemeteries where 93,242 of our comrades-in-arms rest in peace and 55,854 missing are remembered," Nier said. "This act sealed the commitment of this nation to a World War II Memorial on this site." Joseph J. Frank, national commander of the American Legion, reminded commissioners of the controversy over the Enola Gay bomber display at the Smithsonian. "I heard pain in the voices of veterans a few years ago when they talked about the Enola Gay," Frank said. "I'm hearing that same pain, as I travel this nation, in their voices today." "It's appropriate that we leave for the generations that follow a clear reminder of the contributions made during World War II by our parents and grandparents," Frank said. "For all they've done, the World War II generation has earned a spot smack-dab in the hearts of all Americans. Their memorial deserves a spot smack-dab in the heart of our nation's capital," he concluded. Twenty-seven veterans groups and the Daughters of the American Revolution publicly expressed their support of the site and design of the memorial in letters to the CFA and NCPC. Veterans groups supporting the memorial include The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Ex-Prisoners of War, American Merchant Marine Veterans, and 24 organizations that make up The Military Coalition representing five million current and former members of the seven uniformed services. Friedrich St. Florian's winning design was selected through an open, national competition in which two independent panels comprised of prominent architects and World War II veterans unanimously and independently selected it from among more than 400 entries. The winning design was unveiled in a White House ceremony in January. The World War II Memorial will be constructed on a 7.4-acre site at the east end of the Reflecting Pool between the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument on the National Mall. The ABMC provides administration, care and maintenance for 24 U.S. military cemeteries outside the U.S. and 27 monuments in the U.S. and overseas. For more information about the memorial, contact: American Battle Monuments Commission, 1-800-639-4WW2.
SOURCE American Battle Monuments Commission