EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The National Teachers Hall of Fame's dream with Emporia State University for its Fallen Educators Memorial to earn official designation could soon be a long-awaited dream come true now.
Congress gave its approval to Senate Bill 167, official proclaiming the Kansas memorial as the one to become the National Memorial. It now goes to President Donald Trump's desk for his signature.
Senators, led by Kansas Republican Jerry Moran, It's co-sponsor, passed the designation measure in December. The Memorial bill now makes its way to President Trump's desk to await his signature.
First District Congressman Roger Marshall (R-Kansas) led the effort in the U. S. House, with bipartisan sponsorship help from leaders of nine other states.
“Educators devote their lives to preparing our children for life-long success and rewarding careers, it is so important to remember these men and women as the heroes that they truly are.” Rep. Marshall said.
The bill reads that "since 1764 in the colonies and in the country, 119 educators in 36 states have lost their lives performing their professional duties."
Among the most notable names on the memorial, which stands at the entrance to Emporia State University, are Challenger shuttle astronaut/ teacher Christa McAuliffe.. and all the educators who died in the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut five years ago.
Following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 that killed six educators and 20 children, the Emporia Community and the NTHF began brainstorming ways to honor the educators who lost their lives in the attack. That’s when they realized that there was nothing currently commemorating our nation’s fallen teachers. They began raising money and built the memorial in just two years.
"While we hope that no more names will ever have to be added, this memorial site provides a degree of comfort and solace to the loved ones left behind after accidents and tragedies occur in our nation’s schools,” according to Carol Strickland of the National Teachers Hall of Fame.
“We are grateful to Representative Marshall for sponsoring this bill through the House to get the Memorial to Fallen Educators designated as a national memorial,” said ESU President Allison Garrett.
The Bill's Senate backer, Senator Jerry Moran responds: “Our country’s educators play an integral role in shaping the next generations of Americans, and their hard work and dedication to their students too often goes unrecognized,” said Sen. Moran.
The memorial was dedicated in June 2014, is built and paid for. Upon the President's approval, the site at ESU will be Kansas' first national memorial of any kind.
Sen. Moran’s legislation carries no cost to taxpayers, instead directing that the memorial continue to be owned and cared for by the NTHF and ESU, with private funds used for maintenance, while also having the prestige of a national memorial.