Recent Press Releases

Rockefeller, Thune, and Webb Introduce Legislation to Honor World War I Veterans

Memorial Would Recognize Over 4 Million Americans who Served in the Great War

October 29, 2009

Washington, D.C. —  Senators John Rockefeller (D-WV), John Thune (R-SD), and Jim Webb (D-VA) today introduced S. 2097, the bipartisan Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act, a bill that would rededicate the existing District of Columbia War Memorial as the National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The act is named for Frank Buckles of West Virginia, who at 108 years of age is the last surviving American World War I veteran.

"As we look forward to the centennial of the First World War, it is well past time to honor our veterans by rededicating an appropriate memorial on our National Mall to join the World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorials. Our grateful nation should recognize all the men and women who fought for our safety and fundamentally changed our world at the beginning of the 20th century. I am so proud we can honor Frank Buckles, our last surviving veteran living his golden years in West Virginia, and all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Senator Rockefeller.

"World War I was a critical point in the history of our nation and our world, when the United States took an important step toward fighting aggression overseas," said Thune. "Millions of Americans served and tens of thousands gave their lives, and this bill is a small way of honoring their sacrifice and would provide long overdue recognition in our nation's capital."

"As someone who grew up in and around the military, who had the privilege of serving, and whose son and son-in-law still serve today, I am committed to recognizing those who served in World War I," said Senator Webb. "Rededicating the memorial is a proper way to honor World War I veterans and provide a strong educational foundation for future generations in understanding the conflicts that influenced our nation's history."

The District of Columbia constructed a memorial on the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial to honor the 499 District of Columbia residents who died in World War I. The Frank Buckles World War I Memorial Act would rededicate the District of Columbia memorial as the National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial. The legislation would also authorize the non-profit World War I Memorial Foundation to make repairs and improvements to the existing memorial, as well as install new sculptures or other commemorations at the memorial.

The bill would not require any taxpayer dollars because the World War I Memorial Foundation would raise the necessary funds through private donations.