Board Approves $50K for 9/11 Tribute Room on USS Arlington

by ARLnow.com March 20, 2013 at 11:00 am 45 Comments

USS Arlington (photo courtesy Northrop Grumman)The Arlington County Board has approved $50,000 to support the creation of a Sept. 11 “Tribute Room” in the USS Arlington.

The ship, which will carry U.S. Marines, helicopters and expeditionary vehicles to hot spots around the world, is set to be commissioned on Saturday, April 6, in a ceremony that will be attended by numerous  Arlington County officials and first responders. The ship was named the USS Arlington in commemoration of the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon.

The USS Arlington Commissioning Committee has been trying to raise $500,000 for the commissioning and for a Sept. 11 Tribute Room on the ship. Though the fundraising has recently hit a slow patch, with only 2/3 of the goal met, the Arlington County Board gave the effort a boost Tuesday night with a $50,000 allocation for the Tribute Room.

“This is a big week for the USS Arlington and for our community,” County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said in a statement. “It is fitting that the Board has approved funding for the ship’s Tribute Room just days before the USS Arlington sails into Norfolk, where it will be welcomed by some of the same first responders who performed so heroically on 9/11.”

The Tribute Room will “recognize and honor those who lost their lives at the Pentagon on 9/11 and to honor the heroic efforts of the first responders and emergency services who came to the rescue,” according to a press release. Navy regulations prohibit federal funds from being used for such a purpose.

  • Rory

    Waste of money. We have several other places where they are honored. Spending money like this while cutting child care regulation, raising taxes, and laying off employees?

    • Observer

      It’s okay Rory…the water park, trolley, and $1M bus stops are still a go.

  • Big Willy

    Our beloved board sure can waste some money.

  • Douglas Parker

    What a bargain at 1/20th a super stop! Let’s buy two rooms at that rock bottom price! 😉

  • SomeGuy

    Dear County Board,

    Please read the following two articles:



    And please REREAD both articles prior to making any decisions like this one.

  • DCBuff

    Interesting. Federal funds are prohibited for this purpose. ArlCo is in a budget bind (putting aside the Artispharce, the trolley, the waterpark) and making cuts while raising taxes. This is a worthy cause, worthy of community support. But, community support doesn’t necessarily mean community tax dollars. Maybe Frank told them he would be able to collect another 50k in back taxes (Extra Virgin…).

    • VABuff

      What’s so worthy about it? How does a “Tribute Room” help anybody with anything? It’s a complete waste no matter where the funds come from.

      • QTR

        Ships often have rooms such as this, dedicated to either the namesake of the ship or the event for which the ship was named. It helps visitors understand why the ship carries the name that it does. For example, lost of folks these days probably don’t know who Admiral Nimitz was. But when you visit the ship named after him, and go into the little room dedicated to his memory, you understand.

        • Um

          That doesn’t help explain any further why it’s worthy of $50K. I agree with VABuff. When they want to cut child care regulation but give money to this, it makes it seem like even more of a waste. We all remember 9/11. We all respect the people who died and the heroes who emerged in the aftermath. We don’t need to spend $50K on a room on a boat.

    • Westover Leftover

      $50k is $25K more than the highest current sponsor, do the taxpayers of Arlington get credit for the donation or does the Board?

    • Ballstonian

      Thanks, QTR, for explaining to non-veterans like me what a tribute room is and how it is used. In light of your explanation, it does seem like a good thing, and a worthy cause for donors to support. But if even Congress (which otherwise spends like an inebriated mariner) doesn’t think it right for Federal funds to be used for it, I’m not sure why public tax money from the County should be used either. It should be paid for by private donors.

      • QTR

        Don’t disagree with that in the least. But I take issue with the “inebriated mariner” comment. If that were true, they would have given 100K instead of 50, with the extra going to an awesome new tattoo.

    • Let_Them_Eat_Cake

      Artispharce. That made me chuckle.

    • Grump

      There are dozens of towns named Arlington. Why do we have to pay for this?

  • nom de guerre

    My sources inform me that the County Board will be utilizing Arlington County ONE to transport themselves and the first responders to the commissioning ceremony in Norfolk.

    • Ballstonian

      But I’m confused — is Arlington ONE a streetcar, or a giant tricycle, big enough for all 5 of them to ride while they take turns pedaling?

      • Arl One

        More like a rickshaw, pulled by the taxpayers.

        • trikesareforkids

          Self-propelled bar-cycle

      • nom de guerre

        No. Arlington County ONE is a Boeing Business Jet that the Board
        extracted from Boeing in return for density concessions related to the
        new Boeing regional headquarters. It is for the exclusive use of the
        Board members and the citizens are only allowed to look at it, but they
        will be allowed to clean the custom interior and fuselage as a

        • Clarendon Cruiser

          I am unworthy to even cast a glance upon Arlington County ONE’s sleekness. I shall avert mine eyes whilst operating my transport in its hallowed vicinity (but I shall also obey all traffic laws and regulations is said process)… ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY ARLCO ONE THOSE IN TRANSPORTED ALOFT IN HER!

        • Virginia^2
  • squidgod

    Waste of money for the county; waste of space for the Navy.

  • kalashnikev

    Let’s send them on a cruise for a few months in the Tribute Room and practice sane budgeting and sound polices while they’re away.

    • drax

      Do you oppose spending the tax funds on the 9/11 tribute room, Kev?

      • Clarendon Cruiser

        I do, normally this stuff is voluntarily donated thru a private fund or a fundraiser not tax revenue. (I know, I’m retired military also)

  • OX4

    What am I missing here? Isn’t the whole damn ship a tribute?

  • ID

    How often is a “Tribute Room” going to be used when a ship is deployed and where the crew works non-stop? Wouldn’t such a room be better located than on an active warship?

    • QTR

      It’s used all the time. On deployment, ships visit foreign ports and that room is often where foreign guests are welcomed. Also, it’s used for cermonies (awards, reenlistments, etc).

      • Juanita de Talmas

        It will work just as well for those purposes without $50,000 from Arlington taxpayers.

        • QTR

          I’m not saying it’s something taxpayers should support. I’m merely describing what it’s used for.

          • Let’s look at the bigger picture. As QTR (Quartermaster?) pointed out, every ship has a visitor room of this type. This issue is whether ArlCo should donate $50K to this room. Arlington makes a lot of money from renting(hosting) various Defense Dept related events (contractor conventions, business persons, etc). It is good business for ArlCo to be DoD friendly.

            Imagine the headlines and bad publicity for ArlCo if it did not contribute to its own namesake – especially one related to 9/11. I could see all sorts of outcries, and maybe losing business. This county doesn’t need a headline of “County won’t support own ship/troops/etc”.

            So, on a purely business basis, spending $50K makes sense. Think of it as an advertisement to the DoD community if you want to. Think of it as a county showing its appreciation for the defense community. Think whatever, but, to do otherwise would be a mistake.

  • Karlina Rove

    Enough with the fetishizing of 9/11. If we want to pay tribute to the victims, let’s send Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld to The Hague to be tried for war crimes.

    • QTR

      You’re right. Let’s just forget about the thousands who died that day. Good call.

      • VABuff

        There are multiple memorials in various locations across the country. They won’t be forgotten if there is one less.

        • ARL

          I know I feel better knowing that if I up and forget about 9/11 someday, I will be reminded again when I happen to be strolling around the decks of the Arlington. Oh, yeah, that!

      • Grump

        We won’t forget, and spending $50,000 wastefully isn’t going to make us remember any more than we already do. Those of us who were here on that day will remember it for the rest of our lives.

  • pdarl

    Another example of fiscal irresponsibility. Arlington is in a class of its own. I’m constantly amazed at the decisions the board makes.

  • CSC

    Ridiculous waste of money

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Wow 1/5th of what it would take to keep oversight of 100’s of children in daycare, what a bunch of mixed up priorities.

    • Um


  • nom de guerre

    If the purpose of a tribute room is remind people why the ship is named the USS Arlington, why didn’t the County Board contribute scale models of a streetcar, aquatic center, super stop and the Artisphere?

  • novasteve

    Is the USS Arlington a trolley tender?

  • Mc

    The spending here represents around 25 cents per resident. It captures a significant event in Arlington history that will travel around the globe. The critics are really saying they wish Arlington was insignificant, because any spending on something tangible seems threatening to them. For these people, it’s scary to think anything might be important that you don’t own yourself. Sad.

  • Senior

    Can’t you board members slow down? No wonder our taxes keep going up. Every week it’s something new you all propose. Look at the big picture and notice that local county governments are still not giving raises to their employees, Even the Feds. You all are lucky to have jobs. I was shocked to see how many establishments are delinquent on food taxes. Why do you let it continue. We need some balance and you board members need a reality check and look at how to conserve. I voted for you all and don’t know if I will again. Did you even ask the citizens of Arlington to pay for this? Get back to basics and raise the money on your own for the Tribute Room with private donors.


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