WASHINGTON, DC – Clara Barton is among the historical American figures slated to be honored in the planned National Garden of American Heroes monument that was originally announced by President Donald Trump in July.
Trump, in the last two days of his Presidency, amended his original Executive Order on Monday and added dozens of more names to the roster planned to be honored in the statuary park.
Barton, famous for founding the American Red Cross, was also an educator, teaching in not only the United States but also in Canada. In 1852, she established the first free public school in the state of New Jersey in Bordentown.
Located in a small, one-room building on what is now East Burlington and Crosswicks Street in Bordentown City, the school originally served six students when it opened. According to the Bordentown Historical Society, Barton’s school program went on to educate over 600 children by the following year, who received lessons from teachers in different locations throughout the City. Despite her successes in Bordentown, the school board appointed a man as Principal of the program she created when Barton took a brief leave of absence due to laryngitis.
Deeply unhappy with the situation, Barton left Bordentown to take a position in Washington, DC, where she worked and lived when the Civil War broke out in 1861. There, she helped wounded, sick and hungry Union soldiers. This was the beginning of her work on the frontlines to assist soldiers wounded in battle, earning her the nicknames “the Florence Nightingale of America” and “the Angel of the Battlefield”.
Barton went on to found the American Red Cross in 1881.
The Bordentown Historical Society recently undertook a massive fundraising effort to raise the money to replace the roof on what is now known as the Clara Barton Schoolhouse. The "Raise the Roof" campaign raised over $43,000 for a new roof as well as other necessary renovations to the HVAC and electrical systems in the building. The new roof was recently installed, just in time for Barton's 200th birthday this year. To donate to the effort, visit the Historical Society's fundraisig website HERE.
Trump, who announced the planned monument during a July 3, 2020 Independence Day celebration speech at Mount Rushmore, described the Garden as “a vast outdoor park that will feature the statues of the greatest Americans to ever live.” At the time, a number of statues of figures from the Confederacy, as well as those with racist legacies, were being vandalized or destroyed across the country in relation to the unrest stemming from police shootings of unarmed African Americans.
In Trump's July Executive Order, he stated, "These statues are not ours alone, to be discarded at the whim of those inflamed by fashionable political passions; they belong to generations that have come before us and to generations yet unborn. My Administration will not abide an assault on our collective national memory. In the face of such acts of destruction, it is our responsibility as Americans to stand strong against this violence, and to peacefully transmit our great national story to future generations through newly commissioned monuments to American heroes.”
Monday's Executive Order said that each individual had been chosen “for embodying the American spirit of daring and defiance, excellence and adventure, courage and confidence, loyalty and love.”
"The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendor of our country’s timeless exceptionalism... Across this Nation, belief in the greatness and goodness of America has come under attack in recent months and years by a dangerous anti-American extremism that seeks to dismantle our country’s history, institutions, and very identity... The National Garden is America’s answer to this reckless attempt to erase our heroes, values, and entire way of life. On its grounds, the devastation and discord of the moment will be overcome with abiding love of country and lasting patriotism."
July’s original Executive Order listed 31 historical figures, including Barton, who would receive a statue in the Garden. Monday’s Executive Order listed 244 names, including the original 31 honorees. Those on the list include Founding Fathers, entertainment icons, sports figures, political figures and activists.
A location and opening date for the Garden has not yet been determined.
To read the full Executive Order as well as for a complete list of figures slated to be honored, click HERE.
For more information about Clara Barton’s ties to Bordentown, visit the Bordentown Historical Society’s website HERE.