05.12.21

Rounds, Shaheen Introduce Bill to Support National World War II Memorial

Commemorative coin proceeds would fund Memorial repair at no cost to taxpayers

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the Greatest Generation Memorial Act today to authorize the U.S. Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from coin sales will go toward much-needed repairs and maintenance at the Memorial, and support commemorative and educational programming.

The National World War II Memorial has hosted over 70 million visitors, including tens of thousands of World War II veterans, since its dedication in 2004. The Memorial is the first in the nation dedicated to all who served during World War II and acknowledges the commitment and achievement of the entire nation. The Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the Armed Forces of the U.S. during World War II, the more than 400,000 who died, and the millions who supported the war effort here at home.

Large, growing cracks in the Memorial’s granite columns resulted in partial closure of the monument in 2019. While the Memorial is funded by the National Park Service, the Park Service currently has a $12 billion capital construction backlog. This legislation will support quick repairs to this important monument.

“The National World War II Memorial is a special place for our nation’s veterans and citizens, both young and old, to remember the tremendous sacrifices made by the Greatest Generation,” said Rounds. “I’ve had the honor of visiting this Memorial alongside some of South Dakota’s World War II veterans and I can tell you that it was an unforgettable experience. We must make sure this Memorial is properly maintained for generations to come. Our bipartisan legislation will support the restoration of this Memorial and further education about the Greatest Generation through the creation of a commemorative coin.”

“For the millions of U.S. soldiers who served in World War II and the 400,000 who died, the National World War II Memorial is a monument to honor their sacrifice. This memorial helps educate generations of Americans about World War II and our nation’s achievements, and its crumbling granite must be repaired to ensure visitors continue to reflect and remember this historical milestone,” said Shaheen. “I’m proud to join Senator Rounds in introducing bipartisan legislation to create commemorative coins whose proceeds will finance critical repairs at the memorial, ensuring we continue to pay tribute to those who bravely fought to defend America during World War II.”

"On behalf of the Friends of the National World War II Memorial, I want to express my sincere thanks to Senator Rounds and Senator Shaheen for introducing this important legislation,” said Holly Rotondi, executive director of the Friends of the National World War II Memorial. “The Greatest Generation Memorial Act will raise private money to make much needed repairs at the Memorial.  Not only will this bill save taxpayer money, but it will ensure that the National World War II Memorial remains open and structurally sound for generations to come. I applaud Senators Rounds and Shaheen for their strong leadership and their commitment to ensuring that we as a nation continue to properly honor the Greatest Generation.”

The commemorative coin will honor the selfless spirit and sacrifice of America’s “Greatest Generation” who bravely fought to defend the nation during World War II. Coin sale proceeds will go to the Friends of the National World War II Memorial, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2007, to maintain and repair the Memorial, and to make certain educational and commemorative programming remains robust and substantial. The organization plays a vital role in educating the American public about World War II; preserving and maintaining the National World War II Memorial as a treasure for the American people; and facilitating key commemorative programs at the Memorial to pay a fitting tribute to America’s “Greatest Generation.”

Original cosponsors include U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).

Text of the Greatest Generation Memorial Act can be found here.

The Greatest Generation Memorial Act has the endorsement of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Paralyzed Veterans of America, Commemorative Air Force, Afikim Foundation, and 82nd Airborne Division Association.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House by Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.).

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