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Congressional effort underway to honor 'Monuments Men'

U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Fort Worth, introduced a bill recently to honor the “Monuments Men” of World War II with the Congressional Gold Medal for rescuing art from the Nazis.

“I don’t believe it can be overstated how significant the contributions of the Monuments Men are to the preservation of many of the world’s most remarkable pieces of art,” said Granger, who spoke on the House floor about her legislation, which has bipartisan support.

“The story of the Monuments Men is one that has to be told, and should be shared as an instrumental part of US and world history. I believe the veterans who participated are certainly worthy and deserving of the recognition of Congress’ highest expression of appreciation, the Congressional Gold Medal.”

A group of cultural experts was convened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to work with the military to preserve and protect the artwork and other cultural items. They protected almost 5 million cultural works.

The story of the Monuments Men, who served in the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the Civil Affairs and Military Government Section of the Western Allied armies, has become more widely known because of the work of Robert Edsel of Dallas.

Edsel, a former oil and gas executive, became fascinated while living in Italy with the story behind art stolen by Nazis and has written several books about it, including The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.

Monuments Men, a movie, written, directed, produced by and starring George Clooney, will be released in February, delayed from an announced December opening.

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