Congress taking on the debate regarding Memorials and National Mall
Officials in Congress are taking on the debate regarding arguments on whether the National Mall is a place to admire monuments or a place to learn about the people they honor. Janice View, a native of D.C. and an educator, testified at a Congressional subcommittee hearing on the future of the Mall. She said, “It is not enough to drive 8th graders 1,000 miles to stand at the base of a monument and say, ‘Kids, this is important because it is here.’” View says she would like to witness more of the true history taught there so monuments and memorials are brought alive, not only idealized.
Justin Shubow, who is affiliated with the National Civic Art Society, says they don’t want too much disagreement regarding the memorials. “We want them to say a few simple things, that we should honor them and reflect on what they did for us. What we don’t want to see is the so-called brown bag memorial, where every visitor brings whatever interpretation they want to it,” he said. The subcommittee hearing also addressed the National Mall’s future, which is now often crowded. Preston Bryant, of the National Capital Planning Commission, says there are dozens of possible locations in all quadrants of the city. Bryant said, “New cultural projects in these areas can serve as anchors that spark investment, add high-quality public spaces and buildings, and provide destinations that introduce visitors to new parts of the city.”