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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release July 2, 1998

Washington, DC --Vice President Gore announced today that the Administration has selected its preferred design for enhancements to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial to recognize that FDR became one of our greatest presidents while he had a disability.

"Today, I am proud to announce an important agreement between the Roosevelt family, the FDR memorial designer, the disability community, and the park service to depict President Roosevelt in his wheelchair at the FDR Memorial," Vice President Gore said. "This agreement will serve as both a tribute to a true American hero who led our nation through its darkest days and as a reminder that disability is not a barrier to achievement."

Last year, the Administration worked with Congress to develop legislation authorizing a permanent addition to the FDR Memorial "to provide recognition of the fact that President Roosevelt's leadership in the struggle by the United States for peace, well-being and human dignity was provided while the President used a wheelchair."

The Administration has decided that the main entrance to the memorial should be configured to create an additional outdoor room, which will be constructed of granite. Located in the new room will be a bronze, human-scale statue of FDR in the small wheelchair he invented. The statue, located at grade, will be accessible to all visitors. The granite wall behind the statue will contain inscriptions and an associated bronze relief reflecting FDR's life before he became President.

This location, roughly across from the Visitor Center, will be chronologically consistent with the order of the other four outdoor rooms of the memorial and will allow for appropriate scale and lighting, while remaining consistent with the rest of the memorial.

The addition will be created by memorial designer Lawrence Halprin, stone carver John Benson, and sculptor Robert Graham, who created the memorial's First Inaugural and Social Programs sculptures.

In September 1997, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt appointed seven private citizens to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Committee, a subcommittee of the National Park System Advisory Board. The committee was charged with reaching consensus as to where and how the memorial should recognize that FDR used a wheelchair while leading the nation through some of its most difficult times. Memorial designer Lawrence Halprin worked with the committee in its deliberations. Today, the Vice President and Babbitt accepted those recommendations on behalf of the Administration.

The addition will be paid for with private funds raised by the National Organization on Disability.

The National Park Services manages the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, which received over 3 million visitors in its first year, making it the most popular tourist site in Washington, D.C.