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25th Anniversary Celebration Highlights the Memorial’s Forward Thinking on Inclusivity

  • May - 11 - 2022

THE FDR MEMORIAL TURNS 25

Anniversary Celebration Highlights the Memorial’s Forward Thinking on Inclusivity

Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2022) – The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee celebrates the 25th Anniversary of the FDR Memorial as a pioneer in bringing truth and authenticity to history. The FDR Memorial exemplifies how inclusion can be exhibited through the accurate depiction of narratives from underrepresented stories as it has done with the addition of the statue of FDR in his wheelchair and the acknowledgment of Eleanor Roosevelt’s contribution with the only statue of a First Lady in a presidential memorial.  

For a memorial that took almost 55 years to erect, it thoughtfully delivers the myriad of stories from the nation’s longest-serving president who led the United States out of the Great Depression and rallied a reluctant nation to victory during World War II. The Memorial is different from other presidential memorials in that it uses elements of stone and water and landscaping to tell the story of FDR’s presidency.

On Tuesday afternoon, invitees gathered at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center for the panel discussion “The FDR Memorial – A Reflection on the Past and a Plan for the Future,” hosted by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post and MSNBC. The 90-minute discussion reflected on the evolution of the FDR Memorial and how that progress may impact the future of our nation’s monuments. Panelists included retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Valerie Jarrett, CEO, Obama Foundation; David Woolner, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Resident Historian, Roosevelt Institute; Mary Eileen Dolan, Co-Founder and Executive Director, FDR Memorial Legacy Committee.

Each year, the FDR Memorial hosts over three million visitors with each visit providing a touchpoint of education. “I think we as adults have a responsibility to educate our children accurately, and inclusively, and not just some stories deserve to be told,” said Valerie Jarrett, CEO, Obama Foundation. “But that all stories that make up our nation deserve to be told.”

Over 100 people attended today’s commemoration at the FDR Memorial located at 1850 West Basin Drive SW, Washington, D.C. Special guests included U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce; retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; James Roosevelt, Jr., attorney and grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt; Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post and MSNBC; and Peter Kovler, Chairman of the Board of Judy and Peter Kovler Foundation and leading benefactor of the FDR Memorial.

"It is fitting that we gather at this wheelchair statue which shows the President’s poise, resilience, and strength,” said U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. “Today our task remains the same and to honor FDR’s legacy it is up to each and every one of us to continue to keep the light of democracy’s precious flame aglow. Not only overseas but here at home.”

James Roosevelt, Jr., grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt shared “I am privileged to carry on his principles and try to accomplish equity and justice for people all over the world. That DNA every day gives me a very special feeling for this monument and for the people we worked with within the disability community.”

The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee would like to thank all the donors who made these events possible especially the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler, the Llura and Gordon Gund Foundation, and Jane S. Deland.

 

 

The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee hosted a panel discussion titled “The FDR Memorial – A Reflection on the Past and a Plan for the Future” to discuss the evolution of the FDR Memorial and how that progress may impact the future of our nation’s monuments. From left to right panel participants included: Mary Eileen Dolan, Co-Founder and Executive Director, FDR Memorial Legacy; retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Valerie Jarrett, CEO, Obama Foundation; David Woolner, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Resident Historian, Roosevelt Institute; and Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post and MSNBC.

 

The FDR Memorial Legacy Committee hosted a panel discussion titled “The FDR Memorial – A Reflection on the Past and a Plan for the Future” to discuss the evolution of the FDR Memorial and how that progress may impact the future of our nation’s monuments. From left to right panel participants included: Mary Eileen Dolan, Co-Founder and Executive Director, FDR Memorial Legacy; retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Valerie Jarrett, CEO, Obama Foundation; David Woolner, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Resident Historian, Roosevelt Institute; and Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post and MSNBC.

As part of the 25th Anniversary of the FDR Memorial hosted by the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee, James Roosevelt, Jr., grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt and Co-Chair of the Anniversary Committee, shared personal stories of the lasting impact the Memorial and the statue of FDR in his wheelchair have had.

As part of the 25th Anniversary of the FDR Memorial hosted by the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee, James Roosevelt, Jr., grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt and Co-Chair of the Anniversary Committee, shared personal stories of the lasting impact the Memorial and the statue of FDR in his wheelchair have had.

7th graders from Browne Education Campus, located in Ward 5 in Washington, D.C., led the pledge of allegiance at the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the FDR Memorial. Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post and MSNBC; 7th grade students from Browne Education Campus; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce; James Roosevelt, Jr., attorney and grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt; and retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

Seventh graders from Browne Education Campus, located in Ward 5 in Washington, D.C., led the pledge of allegiance at the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the FDR Memorial. Pictured from left to right: Jonathan Capehart, The Washington Post and MSNBC; 7th grade students from Browne Education Campus; U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; British Ambassador Dame Karen Pierce; James Roosevelt, Jr., attorney and grandson of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt; and retired Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.

 

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About the FDR Memorial Legacy Committee

FDR Memorial Legacy Committee is a citizen-led organization with the mission to promote education about the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC, improve inclusion and accessibility so all visitors can experience the Memorial and preserve the Memorial for future generations.  The organization, borne out of the successful disability led campaign in the 1990s for disability representation at the Memorial, is committed to sharing the diverse perspectives of the Roosevelt era and that era's legacy today. 

Please visit www.fdrmemoriallegacy.com for more information.