For Immediate Release: 02/19/08
New York Congressman Honored for Efforts to Preserve Nation’s Civil War Battlefields
U.S. Representative Steve Israel recognized by the national Civil War Preservation Trust as a champion of the battlefield preservation cause
(Washington, D.C.) - CWPT president Jim Lighthizer meets with Empire State Congressman Steve IsraelDuring a Feb. 14 ceremony on Capitol Hill, Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) president James Lighthizer honored Empire State Congressman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) with its National Preservation Leadership Award in recognition of his stalwart support of Civil War battlefield preservation.
Rep. Israel is a long-time advocate of the federal Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, a matching grants program that has become the principal tool for protecting battlefield land in the U.S. Rep. Israel is also co-chairman and a founding member of the Congressional Battlefields Caucus, an informal group of lawmakers with an abiding interest in historic preservation. He is also a member of the Historic Preservation Caucus.
“Walking the ground of a Civil War battlefield is a transcendent experience, one that never fails to inspire me personally,” Israel said. “They are unique and valuable resources that should be protected for the benefit of future generations. I am honored to be recognized for work that pays tribute the more than 470,000 New Yorkers who served in the Union armies and preserves an important part of our nation’s past.”
Thanks in part to Rep. Israel’s support, the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program has been used to save more than 14,000 acres of hallowed ground in 15 states. Currently, he is one of 85 co-sponsors of H.R. 2933, a bill seeking to reauthorize the program in its current, highly successful form for an additional five years.
“Rep. Israel has long been among the leading proponents of battlefield preservation because he truly understands that these sites are hallowed ground,” said CWPT President James Lighthizer. “His commitment and leadership have, quite literally, made the work we do possible.”
Author and former Congressman Bob Mrazek, who also represented portions of Long Island and shares Israel’s passion for Civil War history, had nothing but high praise for his fellow legislator.
“I can think of no one on Capitol Hill more deserving of this recognition than Rep. Steve Israel,” said Mrazek. “He has a deep, personal connection to America’s history and heritage, and profound respect for all the men and women who have ever proudly served our nation in uniform.”
In September 2007, the Naval Institute Press published Rep. Israel’s book Charge!: History’s Greatest Military Speeches. This labor of love by the self-professed amateur historian was sparked by a contemplative moment standing atop Little Round Top on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pa.
Each year CWPT presents awards to individuals, groups and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to battlefield preservation. Other winners of the National Preservation Leadership Award include Senators Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.); and Congressmen John Culberson (R-Texas), Bart Gordon (D-TN), Gary G. Miller (R-Calif.), and Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.), among others.
With 65,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields. Since 1987, the organization has saved more than 25,000 acres of hallowed ground. CWPT’s website is located at www.civilwar.org.