CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE

PAGE 13706

JUNE 22, 1960

FREEDOM MEMORIAL ACT OF 1960

Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, on behalf of myself and Senators ANDERSON, BARTLETT, BEALL, CAPEHART, CASE Of South Dakota, DODD, DOUGLAS, ERVIN, FONG, GREEN, GRUENING, HUMPHREY, JAVITS, KEATING, LUSK, MANSFIELD, MCGEE, MOSS, MORSE, RANDOLPH, STENNIS, SYMINGTON, YOUNG of North Dakota, I introduce for appropriate reference, a bill to authorize the enlargement of Arlington National Cemetery and to provide that land therein shall be reserved for the interment of persons who have served with the greatest distinction and valor in the Armed Forces of the United States.

Mr. President, I was dismayed to learn recently that America's most hallowed ground -- Arlington National Cemetery -- is filling up so fast that within a very few years all remaining space for the interment of the Nation's honored dead will have been occupied. It has been reliably estimated that the cemetery will be closed to future burials by 1968.

Upon investigation, I found that the area adjoining the north boundary of Arlington National Cemetery, the so-called Nevius tract, consists of approximately 20 acres of unoccupied federally owned land that could well be utilized in extending the cemetery. It has the same general topography and is contiguous to the present cemetery.

This land is presently under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior. Proposed plans would utilize this high, gently sloping tract of land facing the Potomac River, Washington, and the Mall for a monument to freedom symbolized by the erection of a so-called Freedom Wall 68 feet high, 327 feet long, and 204 feet wide.

Mr. President, it would be sheer folly to waste this tract of land, so admirably suited to receive the last remains of those who have borne the Nation's battles, by constructing with Federal funds this gigantic wall and terming it a monument to freedom. I submit that a more appropriate memorial to freedom would be the reservation of this land for the remains of those who have served in the Armed Forces and have been awarded our Nation's highest decorations.

The bill I am introducing would transfer the tract of land in question to the jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Army and would reserve it for the interment of persons who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor; the Distinguished Service Cross; the Navy Cross; the Distinguished Flying Cross; the Army and Navy Distinguished Service Medals and such other persons as may be designated by the President of the United States.

This shall then be a fitting memorial to the preservation of our freedoms and the ideals of democracy, and to those persons who by their acts of great valor in time of war exemplified most magnificently the very great contribution made by all members of the armed services of the United States in the defense of this Nation and its ideals and its people.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The bill will be received and appropriately referred.

The bill (S. 3717) to authorize the enlargement of the Arlington National Cemetery and to provide that land therein shall be reserved for the interment of persons who have served with greatest distinction and valor in the Armed Forces of the United States as a memorial to the preservation of our freedoms and the ideals of democracy. and for other purposes, introduced by Mr. Muskie (for himself and other Senators) , was received, read twice by its title, and referred to the Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs.