September 2012 Church & State | AU Bulletin

The memorial honoring veterans of World War II does not need to be altered to add religious material, Americans United told a U.S. Senate committee recently.

In a June 26 letter to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, AU Legislative Director Maggie Garrett expressed opposition to S. 3078, which would add a prayer given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 6, 1944, to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

“The current memorial represents all 16 million men and women who served in our armed forces during World War II,” Garrett wrote. “There is no need to alter it so that it only represents one particular view of God, causing some veterans to feel excluded.”

Garrett noted that the design of the memorial, which has stood for more than 10 years, was selected as part of an open, national competition and was approved by the Department of the Interior and other agencies.

Changing the design of the memorial now, Garrett concluded, would disrespect the entire approval process and would do so for political gain.

At press time, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee had yet to take action on the bill beyond holding a hearing. The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year and was introduced in the upper house by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).