Knowing of battles and preserving battlegrounds from the great wars on American soil remain an important part of remembering great sacrifice.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott has made progress in his efforts to preserve two of the most important sites in Charleston.
His Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park Act has been approved by the U.S. Senate. And he anticipates the House will give its approval.
The legislation would revamp the protections overseeing two of South Carolina’s most historic locations and has the potential to enhance local economic opportunities for the surrounding areas through increased tourism and visitation.
"This is an exciting day for South Carolina, as the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park Act will help ensure the preservation of these important sites for generations to come," Scott said. "I look forward to the overall legislation passing the House and heading to the president’s desk for signature."
Specific details of the bill include:
• Establishes Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park.
• Codifies clear and defining boundaries of federally managed land at Fort Sumter.
• Recognizes the importance of Fort Sumter, Fort Moultrie and the Sullivan’s Island Life Saving Station Historic District in American history and the role they played in protecting the Charleston Harbor during the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the development of the United States coastal defense system from 1776 to 1947.
• Commemorates the lives of the free and enslaved workers who built Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, the soldiers who defended the forts, the prisoners held there and the captive Africans brought to America as slaves.
• Bolsters the tourism potential of the community by increasing the visibility, prestige and notoriety of the sites by upgrading the federal designation to national park.
Each year, Fort Sumter National Monument and Fort Moultrie attract nearly a million visitors to see where the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861. Fort Sumter has been recognized as a national monument since 1948, and since 1960, Fort Moultrie has been administered by the National Parks Service as part of Fort Sumter without a clear management mandate or established boundary.
The overall federal lands package also contains the Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Act and the re-authorization of the HBCU Historic Preservation program, both cosponsored and strongly supported by Scott. The Reconstruction Era National Historical Park Act re-designates the Reconstruction Era National Monument in Beaufort County as a national park, and the HBCU Historic Preservation program works to help historically black colleges and universities.
In divisive and difficult times in Washington, the legislation should be welcomed by politicians of all persuasions. Let's hope partisan politics does not derail it in the House. The nation must preserve its history and prioritize dollars to do so.