ABMC: Commission of Fine Arts Supports Rainbow Pool Location for World War II Memorial; Recommends Further Design Development

More Than 150 Members of Congress Endorse Design and Site on National Mall

Jul 24, 1997, 01:00 ET from American Battle Monuments Commission

    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
     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
     For more information about the memorial, contact:  American Battle
 Monuments Commission, 1-800-639-4WW2.

SOURCE American Battle Monuments Commission