|January 15, 2009||Press Contact: Adam Benson|
|Senate Vote Moves River Raisin Battlefield National Park Closer to Reality|
|Public Lands Bill Now Moves to the House|
Washington, DC - The River Raisin Battlefield is one step closer to becoming the River Raisin National Battlefield Park. Today, the Senate passed S. 22, the “Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009”, which includes language from the River Raisin National Battlefield Act, a bill sponsored by Senator Levin and Congressman Dingell. The legislation designates the River Raisin Battlefield in Monroe County as a unit of the National Park System (NPS).
Senator Carl Levin (D) said: “The Battle of the River Raisin and the massacre that followed hold a distinct place in our history, and deserve to be recognized as such,” said Levin. “With Congressman Dingell’s continued leadership, I am hopeful our National Park System will soon include these battlefield sites so that all Americans will ‘Remember the Raisin.’”
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) said: “The River Raisin Battlefield is one of our state’s most valuable landmarks, honoring the brave troops who sacrificed their lives in defense of our country, almost 200 years ago. I am very pleased to have worked closely with Senator Levin to pass this legislation in the Senate and grateful for Congressman Dingell’s leadership in the House. Ensuring that the River Raisin Battlefield becomes a site of our National Park System is critical to preserving this historical treasure for future generations to come.”
Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI15), the author of the House bill, said: “With the strong support from our two Michigan Senators, the citizens of Monroe are closer than ever to turning the historical site into a lasting tribute to the many soldiers who died there. We’ve said for years that the River Raisin Battlefield deserves to be preserved in perpetuity because of its significance to our nation’s history. I’m pleased so many of my distinguished colleagues in the Senate agree.”
The site was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812. Out of nearly 1,000 American troops that participated in the engagement, only 33 escaped death or capture. This bloody event, arguably the largest land engagement of the war, gave birth to the emotional rallying cry “Remember the Raisin,” which spurred the American forces on to victory at the Battle of the Thames nine months later.
In the almost two hundred years since the fighting ended, the Battlefield was developed for commercial purposes, serving as home to a paper mill at the turn of the last century. During the 110th Congress, Congressman Dingell and Senators Levin and Stabenow helped bring more than $1.5 million in grant money, joining an additional $1.5 million from state and local sources, to pay for the rehabilitation effort, returning the Battlefield to the way it looked 195 years ago. Demolition crews have since brought down the smokestacks and blighted paper mills and archeologists and historians have been shedding new light on this pivotal moment in American history.
S.22 will now move to the House where timing for consideration has not been determined. If the House passes S.22, the President signs the legislation, and the Battlefield land is donated as stipulated in the legislation, the River Raisin Battlefield will be included as a unit of the NPS.
# # #