As Support Grows, Ernst Continues to Push For National Global War on Terrorism Memorial Authorization

Bipartisan bill now has 20 Senate cosponsors and over 140 House cosponsors

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As support continues to grow for the bipartisan Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act (S. 926), U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) today submitted written testimony to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks ahead of its hearing to consider this critical legislation.

The bipartisan legislation, which she introduced with Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) in April, authorizes the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation, a private foundation, to begin the process of pursuing the construction of a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The memorial will honor our men and women in uniform, the fallen servicemembers, their families, and all those who have been impacted by our nation’s longest war.

In her written testimony, Senator Ernst detailed that as a veteran of the Global War on Terror, she witnessed firsthand the service of the brave men and women who served in this ongoing war: “I saw young men and women leaving their regular lives behind to ensure we at home were able to sleep safely at night. Now, many of those men and women are old enough to have their own children deployed in the name of this war. They, too, fight to defend us from an enemy that is ever present and threatens our security here at home.”

Ernst continued, pointing out that, “The longer we wait, the greater the chance that our first veterans of the Global War on Terror will not be witnesses to a National Memorial dedicated to their service and sacrifice.”

The hearing in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks follows a May 25th letter from Senators Ernst and Manchin requesting Chairman Murkowski hold this hearing to examine the legislation.

Since its introduction in the Senate on April 25th, 2017, the legislation has garnered strong bipartisan support from twenty U.S. Senators. There are over 140 cosponsors of the companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Additionally, the Acting Deputy Director of the National Park Service, Department of Interior Robert Vogel is the witness for the hearing. He has submitted written testimony in support of the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act.

Below is the full text of the testimony submitted by Senator Ernst, which can also be found by clicking here.

July 19, 2017

 

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski                            The Honorable Maria Cantwell

Chairman                                                              Ranking Member

Committee on Energy and Natural Resources     Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

304 Dirksen Senate Office Building                      304 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510                                         Washington, DC 20510

 

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell:

On April 25, 2017, I introduced S. 926, the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act along with Senator Manchin.  This bill would authorize the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to establish the National Global War on Terrorism Memorial as a commemorative work in the District of Columbia.  In just a short while, this bill has garnered strong bipartisan support from twenty of our colleagues here in the Senate, many of whom are members of this committee.  It’s also worth noting that the companion bill has over 140 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.

This legislation sends a signal to those who have served and those who continue to serve in the Global War on Terror. As a veteran of the Global War on Terror, I saw firsthand these brave men and women defending our nation.  I saw young men and women leaving their regular lives behind to ensure we at home were able to sleep safely at night.  Now, many of those men and women are old enough to have their own children deployed in the name of this war.  They, too, fight to defend us from an enemy that is ever present and threatens our security here at home.

What makes this commemorative work different from others that have come before this committee is the fact that the War on Terror is still ongoing.  I am well aware that the Commemorative Works Act (CWA) requires that at least ten years elapse from the end of a war or conflict until such event can be commemorated.  However, I’m also keenly aware that if we were to wait that long, a 40-year-old servicemember who deployed in 2001 would be approaching sixty-five years of age.  The longer we wait, the greater the chance that our first veterans of the Global War on Terror will not be witnesses to a National Memorial dedicated to their service and sacrifice.  It is my hope that the discussion today will revolve around why it is necessary and appropriate for a time-period exemption from the CWA be granted, so all those who have served in our nation’s longest war, and their families, be given the opportunity to heal, honor, and remember. 

Sincerely,

 

Joni K. Ernst