March 17, 2016
Contact: Mike Litterst
Washington –The Washington Monument will receive a commemorative plaque from the people of Ireland in recognition of the long and enduring relationship between Ireland and the United States, the National Park Service announced on Thursday. The donation was coordinated with the National Park Service by Senator Mark Daly of the Irish Seanad Éireann, who is the Irish Spokesperson for the Irish Overseas and Diaspora. The plaque will be located among the 193 commemorative stones donated to honor George Washington located on the monument's interior walls. The announcement was made on St. Patrick's Day, the international celebration of Irish culture honoring the foremost patron saint of Ireland.
"For more than 160 years, American states, organizations and even foreign governments have honored the ideals of General George Washington with commemorative gifts to the Washington Monument," said Gay Vietzke, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks. "We are honored by this gift from the people of Ireland that continues this tradition and celebrates the shared heritage of our two nations."
The Washington Monument contains commemorative and memorial stones received from all 50 states;scores of fraternal and community organizations, cities and towns across America;and even 16 foreign countries. The majority of stones were received between 1849 and 1855, although the most recent new donation was accepted in 1982 (from the state of Alaska). Memorial stones are now accepted only in very rare circumstances, such as the admission of a new state to the union or replacement of a previously donated stone. The offer of a plaque from Ireland was accepted after ensuring it met proper criteria for inclusion in the Washington Monument, and review and approval by the director of the National Park Service. The presentation of the plaque from Senator Daly is targeted for this coming May in Washington.
About National Mall and Memorial Parks
The National Park Service's National Mall and Memorial Parks preserves, protects, and interprets the symbolic and monumental civic spaces and commemorative works in the center of the Nation's Capital that honor American ideals and values, distinguished public figures, and military and civilian sacrifices and contributions. On the National Mall these sites include the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. National Mall and Memorial Parks also serves as a public park and open space for active civic and cultural engagement, recreation, and public enjoyment.