POLITICAL ROUNDUP: Lawmakers support bill to bring National Guard 'Arc de Triomphe' to Capitol

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Mar. 27—A new bill, if passed, will bring about a memorial for the National Guard at the State Capitol.

Following the passage of House Bill 4012 in the House, it has moved onto the Senate floor after having been passed in the Senate Tourism and Wildlife Committee, 8-1.

Rep. Mark McBride, R-Moore, sponsored the bill, which would cost $4.3 million.

The monument, McBride said, would have the appearance of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, standing 30 feet tall and 60 feet wide.

It would be accompanied by an amphitheater that would seat 100 people, according to McBride.

Even though McBride has never served in the military, he told The Transcript it is important to memorialize those who serve.

"We all have veterans in our communities, including the National Guard," McBride said. "Our National guard was established in 1890, before statehood, and this was an idea from the beginning for our Capitol complex."

The complex for the Oklahoma State Capitol was completed in 1917, and it did not include an arch to recognize the National Guard. McBride said this bill would fulfill an old promise to Oklahomans.

On the arch, the memorial will feature bronze plaques for different military groups in the National Guard.

"What goes on those plaques will be left to the Arts Council and National Guard and those kinds of people," he said. "That is up to them, because this will be their monument."

He said it is important to memorialize members of the National Guard, as well as to teach history.

"History and preservation is my kind of thing," McBride said. "As well as honoring the military and individuals who ensure that we can live the life we have here in Oklahoma."

Jacob Rosecrants, D-Norman, voted in favor of the bill.

"I've stated many times that I believe that signaling up to serve our country is the highest calling, and our nation and our state, best do all we can to honor these folks," Rosecrants said.

He said it is important for lawmakers to come together to support those who serve.

"Not only can folks visit the arch, but my great hope is that when they do, they'll also more fully understand just how important it is to support our folks in uniform, including our heroes in the National Guard," Rosecrants said.

The measure, which he thinks will pass in the Senate, would serve as an act of bipartisanship.

McBride has worked on this bill since 2014 before the restoration of the Capitol. Money for the arch would come from the Legacy Capital Financing Fund to the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority.

Brian King covers education and politics for The Transcript. Reach him at bking@normantranscript.com.