Before the 1960s almost everything about living openly as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) person was illegal. New York City laws against homosexual activities were particularly harsh. The Stonewall Uprising on June 28, 1969 is a milestone in the quest for LGBT civil rights and provided momentum for a movement.
Vine Creek Ranch at Death Valley National Park. Steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.
Located 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii, the National Park of American Samoa is the most remote unit of the National Park System and the U.S. National Park south of the Equator. The Park spreads across three islands, 9,500 acres of tropical rainforest, and 4,000 acres of ocean, including coral reefs. While remote, the islands of American Samoa, true to the meaning of the word Samoa (Islands of Sacred Earth), are welcoming and offer beautiful landscapes and centuries of culture and history.
Seasoned backpacker and adventurer Yang Lu earned the grand prize in the 2015 Share the Experience photo contest with this image of a sunburst captured at sunrise in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Utah. Yang has made the outdoors part of his daily life and finds deep connection to the land through his lens.
“My photography is not just for recreation, it is to inspire people to explore these areas." -- Yang Lu
Photo by Yang Lu (www.sharetheexperience.org).
H.R. 854 - National Parks, Memorials and Foundation Bills
STATEMENT OF STEPHEN E. WHITESELL, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS, COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 854, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE PEACE CORPS COMMEMORATIVE FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ITS ENVIRONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
OCTOBER 4, 2011
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 854, a bill to authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and environs, and for other purposes.
The Department supports H.R. 854, which would authorize a memorial commemorating the formation of the Peace Corps and the ideals of world peace and friendship upon which the Peace Corps was founded. This proposal provides that no federal funds be used for establishing the memorial.
Although this proposal does not seek any exceptions to the Commemorative Works Act (CWA), it should be noted that this proposal to honor the ideals upon which the Peace Corps was founded does not fit the typical mold for commemoration. The concept of establishing a memorial to "ideals" is not explicitly described in the CWA. When testifying on H.R. 4195, a similar bill introduced in the 111th Congress, we identified our concerns that a bill such as this could set an unwelcome precedent for any and all future concepts identified only as "ideals," resulting in an untenable influx of memorial proposals. However, there is precedent for such commemoration: specifically, the National Peace Garden, which Congress authorized in 1987, and the Memorial to Japanese American Patriotism in World War II, which was authorized in 1992.
Our support for this proposal is based upon our understanding that this memorial will recognize the establishment of the Peace Corps and the significance of the ideals it exemplifies, not the organization's members. The CWA precludes a memorial to members of the Peace Corps as the commemoration of groups may not be authorized until after the 25th anniversary of the death of the last surviving member of a group.
The Department notes that H.R. 854 reflects suggestions made to strengthen the language in this proposal as recommended in our testimony on H.R. 4195 in the 111th Congress, and by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission at its meeting on April 21, 2010. The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission reviewed H.R. 854 on June 23, 2011, and expressed support for the concept of a memorial to the ideals of the Peace Corps, finding that the provisions of H.R. 854 connects the ideals to the exceptional aspects of American character that are exhibited in the ideals of the Peace Corps. We share the Commission's support for the idea of commemorating volunteerism and international cooperation as worthy ideals and practice of the Peace Corps.
Finally, H.R. 854 provides that unspent funds raised for the construction of the memorial be provided to the National Park Foundation for deposit in an interest-bearing account as stated in 40 U.S.C. Section 8906(b)(3), as recommended in our testimony on H.R. on H.R. 4195 in the 111th Congress. We appreciate the inclusion of this provision, and would like to work with the committee on an additional technical amendment to the language.
That concludes my testimony, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to respond to any questions from you and members of the committee