On October 30th, an as-yet-unknown number of people will descend upon the National Mall for Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity. And in an act of great generosity, the folks at Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" have named the Trust for the National Mall as the official, exclusive non-profit for the event, as Jon announced last night. They realize how important preserving this space is to the country. They couldn't be more right, and we couldn't be more grateful.
Like Jon Stewart, Glenn Beck, and more than 30 million annual visitors, we think that the National Mall is a place worth caring about. It is our country's greatest civic stage, giving voice to presidents and protesters alike. Americans from every walk of life, every political leaning, and every religious background can find a piece of their own history on the National Mall and have the freedom and access to add their own chapter.
America was founded on the ideal that diversity of opinion should be celebrated and freely expressed. The National Mall is the only space capable of hosting Obama, Beck, Stewart and Colbert in just an eighteen-month period. It is home to the legacies of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Grant, King and millions of servicemen and women. It is America's highest ground, upon which the right to speak freely is unassailable and set it in stone.
Sadly, despite its place in our hearts, the National Mall is in a state of utter disrepair. If you come to Washington, DC on October 30th or any other day, take a close look. Sidewalks are cracked, lighting is broken and there is a woeful lack of visitor facilities. Take a walk to the Jefferson Memorial at high tide and you will find the sidewalks underwater because the seawall sinks a few inches every year. But please, do NOT dip your toes in the reflecting pools without a tetanus shot. None of the pools on the Mall have circulating water and are filled with algae. The Park Service can only afford to drain, dredge, clean and refill them twice each year. In 2008, several ducks died from avian botulism that grew in the reflecting pool in front of the US Capitol.
The Trust is the official non-profit partner of the National Park Service dedicated to restoring and improving the National Mall. This is the place where our veterans are memorialized, our leaders are honored, and our history and core values are celebrated. We hope you agree that the National Mall's decaying condition defies reason. We hope you agree that we cannot continue to allow the further deterioration of this iconic national park, which tells the Story of America to millions of people each year. We hope you will join us in ensuring the National Mall is preserved for future generations by visiting NationalMall.org and contributing today.