On June 26, lawmakers and journalists gathered at the National Press Club to show support for a proposed memorial dedicated to fallen journalists.
Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, along with Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. all spoke at Wednesday’s press conference to introduce the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act of 2019 (H.R. 3465, S. 1969), bipartisan and bicameral legislation that authorizes construction for the memorial. Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Calif. will also serve as a sponsor on the House bill.
If the legislation passes, the memorial will be constructed along the National Mall. Lawmakers did not include a funding provision, and will instead rely on private donations for construction costs.
The announcement came a few days before the one-year anniversary of the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis, Maryland.
“We will never forget the five journalists who died that day,” Cole said in his remarks.
David Dreier, the Chairman of Tribune Publishing Company, which publishes the Capital Gazette, acknowledged that the violence in Annapolis served as the impetus for the memorial’s planning. He hopes that the memorial will help the public understand the positive impact journalists have on democracy, even in the face of violence.
“Journalists are the cornerstone of our republic,” he said while opening the press conference. Capital Gazette editor Rick Hutzell called the memorial a “just and fitting way” to recognize the contributions of journalists across the globe.
“Journalists run toward danger to cover it, and not away from it,” he said.
The memorial’s construction will take around seven years to complete if the legislation is passed.
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