“Reservation 302” is closer to getting itself a more ear catching name.
The title is used by the National Park Service in relation to a small triangular piece of property in Washington, D.C. that is the site of a statute of Irish patriot Robert Emmet, who was executed 213 years ago this week after his failed uprising against British rule.
The Emmet statue has been in existence for a century, but coming up with a few words to describe the statue’s setting turned out to be a far bigger task in terms of time than actually forging it.
But the words part is now finally catching up.
New York Congressman Joe Crowley is the primary sponsor of H.R. 4564, the Robert Emmet Park Act of 2016.
The House voted unanimously for the bipartisan act Thursday evening and it now proceeds to the Senate.
Once fully approved – and this is all but certain - “Reservation 302” will be officially known as “Robert Emmet Park.”
Joined by a bipartisan group of members, Crowley introduced the bill earlier this year, the 100th anniversary year of the 1916 Rising.
“Inspired by America’s struggle for freedom and independence, Robert Emmet sparked a movement for Irish independence for generations,” said Rep. Crowley in a statement heralding house passage of the bill.
“For many Americans, the admiration for Emmet reflects a deep and abiding pride in Irish-American history, as well as the lasting worldwide influence of our own American history.
“I was proud to join a bipartisan group of members in introducing this bill to coincide with the anniversary of the 1916 uprising, and am thrilled we are now one step closer to the park being named in Emmet’s honor.”
The Emmet statue was commissioned by the Smithsonian, funded by a group of Irish Americans, completed in 1916 by Irish sculptor Jerome Connor, and installed in the Smithsonian’s U.S. National Museum.
On the 50th anniversary of that first dedication, in April 1966, the Smithsonian loaned the Emmet statue to a small National Park Service site near the Embassy of Ireland.
It was duly rededicated.
The then-Speaker of the House of Representatives, John McCormack, presided over the ceremony, and remarks were made by, among others, the Secretary of the Smithsonian and the Ambassador of Ireland.
President Lyndon Johnson conveyed his admiration for Emmet in a message that was read at the event.
The rededication event back in the spring of this year, the second such, saw today’s Irish Ambassador to the United States, Anne Anderson, presiding over a ceremony at the park site, which is at Massachusetts Avenue and 24th Street.
Congressman Crowley, a nine-term Democrat who represents New York’s 14th District, also spoke of the ceremony and outlined his plan for the House bill that has now been approved.
The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Tom Rooney (R-FL), Richard Neal (D-MA), Peter King (R-NY), Brendan Boyle (D-PA), Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Michael Doyle (D-PA), Danny Davis (D-IL), James McGovern (D-MA), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kathleen Rice (D-NY), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Don Beyer (D-VA).
This story first appeared in the Irish Echo. To read more of their great articles, visit their website here.