Commentary by George Will (This Week with Sam Donaldson)

By George Will, ABC’s This Week with Sam Donaldson

Sam Donaldson: Does Washington, meaning really that great Washington Mall, need a new monument? George Will?

George Will: Sam, the Mall, extending from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, is one of the most elegant public spaces in the world. But there is some worry that it is becoming cluttered with monuments in part because there is a new entitlement mentality – that everyone is entitled to have etheir acheivements or ideology ratified by a monumnent on the Mall.

The World War Two Memorial, for example. There is a proposal to build this thing. Frankly, it would be an enormous monument and it might come to dominate the center of the mall.

Furthermore, there is also a move afoot to have a monument up to Ronald Reagan. This, in spite of the fact that Ronald Reagan signed a law that said you should not indeed have monuments put up until within twenty-five years after someone has died; in spite of the fact that the National Airport is named after Ronald Reagan as is the second largest federal building.

Now Bob Dole, a war hero for the World War Two Memorial, as is Tom Hanks. [There are] powerful people behind this. Ronald Reagan is in the grips of Alzheimer’s, so the great sentimental move here. But I have a suggestion: If you really want to see the monument, those who won the second World War and those who won the Cold War, stand in the middle of the Mall and look around. You’ll see all the institutions of our free government that they preserved. And that, I should think, should be enough.