From today’s Washington Post: “Lone Lawmaker Blocks Flight 93 Monument in Pa.” Read it and weep.
Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.), has blocked a $10 million request to buy the land for a permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew members who overpowered hijackers bent on crashing their jet into the Capitol or the White House.
For Taylor, a large landowner in the mountains of western Carolina, the issue comes down to principle: The federal government is already the largest landowner in the country, and he believes that no additional tax dollars should go to more land buying for this or any other memorial. Beyond that, the families have committed to raising half the $60 million needed to build the memorial but so far have raised $7.5 million. Taylor is concerned that the federal government will be left holding the bag.
Congressman Taylor is an Appropriations Committee “Cardinal,” chairing the Interior Department subcommittee. Obviously he has found time amidst all the panel’s principled pork-barrel spending and project-earmarking of billions to make this diligent stand against a memorial at a place where rest the remains of true American patriots.
Maybe if Flight 93 had crashed in North Carolina the outcome would be different, because when it comes to final resting places, the Congressman is a man of (local) action. This is from a January press release:
Rep. Taylor Calls on Federal Government to Make Good on Promise to Build North Shore Road
Western North Carolina Representative Charles Taylor called on the Federal Government today to live up to a promise it made nearly six decades ago to build a road to give residents in Swain County access to their family cemeteries.
In 1943 the Tennessee Valley Authority forced the residents of many thriving communities in Swain County to leave their homes to make way for the Fontana reservoir. Although the TVA never used 44,000 acres taken from Swain County for the Fontana project, they did not offer to return it to the original owners. Instead they gave the land to the National Park Service, and it became the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Scattered throughout these mountains, there are twenty-eight cemeteries containing nearly 1,000 graves.
“A solemn promise was made to these families by the federal government concerning access to their ancestral gravesites and that promise should not be broken,” said Rep. Taylor. “A promise cannot be washed away by the passage of time.”
One can expect someday a solemn earmark of taxpayer millions to build this solemn road to access these solemn cemeteries of Rep. Taylor’s solemn constituency.