Wagner Speaks on Gateway Arch Bill Headed to President’s Desk
WASHINGTON – Last night, S.1438, the Gateway Arch National Park Designation Act, passed the United States House of Representatives, and it is now headed to the president’s desk. Prior to the bill’s passage, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (MO-02) spoke on the House floor in support of the legislation.
REMARKS AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of S.1438, the Gateway Arch National Park Designation Act.
And I would like to start by thanking Senator Blunt and Congressman Clay for their leadership on this issue. Renaming the arch and the area surrounding it will finally make its name consistent with how people from around the world identify it and our city. We are indeed the gateway to the West.
In 1935, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was created as a unit of the National Park Service, and today it includes a museum, the old St. Louis Courthouse, and the Gateway Arch National Monument.
It was built to honor the role that President Thomas Jefferson played in opening the American West and honor the settlers who followed the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and their “Corps of Discovery.”
In addition, it encompasses the old St. Louis Courthouse, where Dred Scott filed the famous suit seeking his freedom, furthering the fight to ensure that all men are indeed treated equally. It was also the site where in 1872, Virginia Minor asserted that women were citizens of the United States and therefore were entitled to vote.
The Gateway Arch itself is the largest man-made monument in the U.S. and has been welcoming visitors to the banks of the Mississippi River since its construction in 1965.
When people come to visit Gateway Arch National Park, the name will now reflect the Arch, but it will stand for so much more. Visitors will see how St. Louis embodies its history as the Gateway to the West.
Explorers, settlers, civil rights leaders, and many more have passed through our city and found promise in what lies ahead. That is the spirit our city embodies, and the name of our National Park will now match what is at the heart of our culture.