WASHINGTON POST OPINION
PIECE ON FORT MONROE
Save Fort Monroe
The Web page of an informal network of people who advocate a UNIFIED national monument or park to transform the split one along the bayfront at Fort Monroe, Virginia—the site of what the Civil War historian Edward Ayers once called “the greatest moment in American history.” (Please see the asterisked note at the bottom.)
Questions for 2019:
* The Newport News Daily Press has doubled down on its 13 years of opposing international stature for Fort Monroe, advocating overdevelopment instead. The editors demand that the two parts of the split national monument never be unified, not even with a token 40-acre sliver of the area shown in red in the illustration below. Will Fort Monroe's friends and defenders make their voices heard?
* What about four Virginia mayors' call for unifying the split national monument?(Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Virginia Beach; click on their letter below.)
* What about the mayors' call to "elevate" the Historic Triangle by adding Fort Monroe to make a Historic Diamond?(Please see a Richmond Times Dispatch op-ed based on the paper "Americas Historic Diamond: Elevating the Historic Triangle by Adding Fort Monroe," presented at the 2018 Virginia Forum)
* Would anyone in Wakanda (the mythical land in Black Panther) understand why Americans celebrate Juneteenth instead of Fort Monroe's May 23?
(You can easily extract and circulate a copy of this illustration.)Fort Monroe, Virginia, looks across the lower Chesapeake Bay, over Hampton Roads harbor, deep into four centuries of America's past, and -- if America makes sensible post-Army use of it -- far into the coming centuries. A National Park Service map uses light green to indicate the two parts of the split national monument recently established there. But if it’s true that Fort Monroe saw American history’s greatest moment, that bifurcation is self-evidently preposterous. It’s like marring Monticello with hillside development. Here, red has been added to show the sense-of-place-defining bayfront space that needs to be incorporated into the national monument to transform it from fake to real. [more]
Pretext for the condos? Public financial necessity. It’s bogus. It presumes America so third-rate that it can’t even respect a national treasure worthy of designation as a World Heritage site—worthy of having this fake, split national monument become a real Freedom’s Fortress National Park. That worthiness shows in many ways:
* Three-minute video tour
* Essay by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
* New York Times feature
* Richmond Times-Dispatch op-ed
* “Fixing a Fake National Monument”
“Squandering” Fort Monroe? The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot warns against it. Virginia’s largest-circulation newspaper and others support unification of the split national monument/park:
* Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe
* National Parks Conservation Association
* Civil War Trust
* Virginia League of Conservation Voters
* Washington Post letter (the second of a pair)
* Many additional organizations call for parkland in the red area, often expressing hope for eventual national stewardship
Public enrichment? Yes, in every sense: economic, historical, recreational, environmental, cultural.
Historic Diamond? Yes. Elevate Virginia’s Historic Triangle by giving it a fourth node, Fort Monroe, that tells the rest of America’s founding story—the part when we at least began trying to live up to the principles in the Declaration of Independence.
Condos on Monticello’s hillsides? No, and not in the wrong places at Fort Monroe either.
Factual blunders at the developer-kowtowing Daily Press? Yep. Still never corrected, but often recycled.
Flooding? Wetlands Watch formally criticized the plan to overdevelop low-lying, ocean-facing Fort Monroe, and on its blog even called the plan “stupid.” The Union of Concerned Scientists warns that flooding threatens—and that long before condos were even contemplated, Hurricane Isabel brought Fort Monroe a tenth of a billion dollars in damage.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
If you want the national monument unified in something like the way that’s suggested by the red area in the illustration above, you’re a member of the informal network Save Fort Monroe. You can take action:
* Please “like” the Save Fort Monroe Facebook page and promote it whenever you can.
* Please join the Save Fort Monroe e-mail list by sending your e-address to SaveFortMonroe[[[at]]]gmail.com. (Your e-address won’t be used often, and won’t be used for anything except Fort Monroe.)
* Please take every opportunity to promote unification of the split national monument via social media, letters to the editor, online comments, and personally contacting Virginia journalists as well as politicians at all levels. They talk to each other!
* Please contact Gov. Northam and encourage him to act on his stated belief that Fort Monroe should be unified. Be sure to stipulate: not token unification via a mere “green connector,” but real unification—from Buckroe down to the fortress and from Mill Creek across to the bay. (Ask him to consult the illustration on this Web page!)
*Please see the final paragraph in a June 2011 Chronicle of Higher Education profile. Virginia officials finally acknowledged this “greatest moment” stature in a 2014 op-ed. The web page you’re reading is the original website, created in 2006, of Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park, a small, dedicated committee. Anybody can join Save Fort Monroe simply by supporting it. Welcome. Let’s hear from you: SaveFortMonroe[[[at]]]gmail[[[dot]]]com
Page maintained by FortMonroeNationalPark.org10 March 2019
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