my home town.....
by by evening news staff , last modified March 31. 2009 11:06AM
Area residents, officials and members of the historical community shared a celebretory moment Monday afternoon: a champagne toast celebrating the inclusion of the River Raisin battlefield in the National Park Service.
Just hours after President Barack Obama signed a lands bill that designated the River Raisin National Battlefield Park a unit of the park service, supporters of the effort gathered at Monroe Bank & Trust to mark the occasion.
The battlefield, near E. Elm Ave. and N. Dixie Hwy., was the scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the War of 1812. Out of nearly 1,000 American troops that took part in the clash, only 33 escaped death or capture. It is viewed as one of the turning points in the war.
The City of Monroe and Monroe County Historical Society have secured much of the property related to the battlefield and cleared it. The land now will be donated to the National Park Service for development of an interpretive historical park.
U.S. Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Dearborn, who played a key role in ushering the measure into the lands bill, wasn't in attendance Monday, but was there in spirit, supplying the champagne. His field representative, Josh Myers, appeared on his behalf and said no taxpayer money was spent on the toast and celebration.
"As Americans, we possess few blessings greater than the vast and varied landscapes that stretch the breadth of our continent," President Obama said in signing the law in Washington. "Our lands have always provided great bounty -food and shelter for the first Americans, for settlers and pioneers; the raw materials that grew our industry; the energy that powers our economy.
"What these gifts require in return is our wise and responsible stewardship. As our greatest conservationist president, Teddy Roosevelt, put it almost a century ago, ‘I recognize the right and duty of this generation to develop and use the natural resources of our land; but I do not recognize the right to waste them, or to rob, by wasteful use, the generations that come after us.'
"That's the spirit behind the bipartisan legislation I'm signing today - legislation among the most important in decades to protect, preserve, and pass down our nation's most treasured landscapes to future generations," President Obama said.
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who shepherded the bill through the Senate, issued a statement saying he was thrilled the president signed the bill.
He said the provisions of the bill "will pay dividends for years to come by protecting natural beauty and history in Michigan while also encouraging tourism and recreation and celebrating everything our state has to offer."