Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

H.R. 873 - Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act

July 28, 2017
Floor Statement
The Honorable Tom McClintock (R-CA)
Committee on Natural Resources
H.R. 873, Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act
Mr. Speaker:
H.R. 873, the Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act, authored by Congressman Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, would authorize the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to begin the lengthy Commemorative Works Act process to establish a Global War on Terror Memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia. The memorial will recognize and honor the men and women that have served on active duty in the United States armed forces since the attack on our country on September 11, 2001. 
The Global War on Terrorism is the longest conflict ever fought by the United States and there is still no end in sight.  We can – and should -- debate the policies that have prolonged this war and denied our troops the full might and resources of our nation – but one thing is far above and beyond any debate – and that is the heroism, selflessness, devotion and patriotism of the men and women of our nation who stepped forward from the safety, security and comfort of hearth and home and into harm’s way when our nation called.

The Commemorative Works Act requires that a war be ended for at least ten years before planning can commence on a national memorial.  There is a good reason for this requirement: it gives history the insight to place the war in an historic context and to begin to fully appreciate its full significance to our country and future generations.
But the War on Terrorism has been fought in a decidedly different way than our past wars.  We are approaching the 16th anniversary of the attack on New York and Washington.  The veterans who sacrificed so much to keep that war away from our shores deserve some tangible and lasting tribute to their patriotism and altruism while they, their families and their fellow countrymen can know it.  The gold star families of our fallen heroes – for whom the war will never end – deserve some assurance their sons and daughters will never be forgotten by a grateful nation.
We should remember that many of our nation’s heroes from World War II never lived to see the completion of the World War II Memorial – which was completed 59 years after the end of that conflict.
For these reasons, this measure suspends the ten-year period in current law.  It doesn’t repeal it – it merely sets it aside for the unique circumstances of the current war on terrorism.
I am confident that the Memorial Commission will respect and appreciate the fact that many may have yet to serve in this war and that history has not yet had time to reflect on its significance to our nation and indeed to the future of Western Civilization.  I am sure the design they recommend will respect these facts and provide significant latitude for the completion of the memorial after this bane of Islamic terrorism has been extirpated from our planet and the long suffering people of the Middle East have been liberated from it by the brave fighting men and women of the United States Armed Forces that this memorial will honor and thank.