WASHINGTON – Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) issued the following statement after the release of Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser’s DCFACES Working Group Report recommending renaming, relocating, or contextualizing nearly 50 DC sites, including the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Benjamin Franklin Statue, and many more:
“The ludicrous plan laid out by DC Mayor Bowser is, at the very least, a radical publicity stunt and, at the worst, an attempt to completely demolish our nation’s history and erase the names of our nation’s founders.
“Her plan is simply untenable and frankly flies in the face of the work these men did to establish our nation and our freedoms. Washington is rightly filled with hundreds of markers, memorials, plaques, and statues to honor and respect the legacy of the men and women who established and built this nation – these places should be preserved, not demolished; respected, not despised; cherished, not erased.
“The history of our nation is a story of many heroes, some whose names we know, some whom we have never heard and will never hear about – the history of our nation is also filled with real, flawed individuals.
“I am personally inspired by our nation’s history, especially the history of the First District. To be absolutely clear: the institution of slavery was and is wrong. But we cannot erase our history. To completely change the landscape of Washington DC in an attempt to rewrite or erase portions of our history is unimaginable.
“Rather than rename schools, perhaps the Mayor should focus on reinvestment into schools in underfunded areas; rather than contextualizing parks, perhaps she should focus on cleaning them up and helping the homeless who sleep there; rather than relocating a 555-foot-tall monument, perhaps she should advocate for additional monuments around the city that belongs to the nation, to honor even more people in our troubled yet shining past.
“To Mayor Bowser - We owe it to those who came before us to preserve our history for all those who come after.”
Among the historical figures named on the list are former presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson. The list also includes Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin and George Mason, inventor Alexander Graham Bell and composer of the national anthem Francis Scott Key.
Along with schools, parks, statues and monuments, the report also raised questions about the names of 78 streets in the nation’s capital, ten neighborhoods, and two libraries.