A free and independent press is one of America’s greatest historical achievements. It serves as an inspiration to both established and fledgling democracies around the world. That commitment, however, does not come without sacrifice. At home and abroad, journalists and photojournalists confront a range of threats as they pursue the truth. Those threats often include murder, kidnapping, harassment and other forms of violence and intimidation.
In our nation’s capital, replete with worthy monuments and memorials honoring those who have sacrificed their lives to uphold the enduring values of our country, the absence of a Fallen Journalists Memorial is a glaring omission. That is why Congress passed the Fallen Journalists Memorial Act. Enacted into law in December 2020, it authorized the Fallen Journalists Memorial Foundation to “establish a commemorative work on Federal land in the District of Columbia and its environs to commemorate America’s commitment to a free press by honoring journalists who sacrificed their lives in service to that cause.”
As in the case of other memorials in Washington, there is a direct link between the values our country represents and those memorialized in fighting for those values. The Foundation has been entrusted with this two-fold mission – to build a memorial that honors fallen journalists and to educate current and future generations about the critical role of the free press as a pillar of a vibrant democracy.