ARTIST: Kenneth Pietrobono
Proposal for the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior National Mall & Memorial Parks
As the national floral emblem, the rose has many connotations. President Reagan described the national flower as “…the symbol of life and love and devotion, of beauty and eternity. The American people have long held a special place in their hearts for roses. Let us continue to cherish them, to honor the love and devotion they represent, and to bestow them on all we love just as God has bestowed them on us.”
Considering the mission of the National Park Service to “honor our nation’s history…” and “…recognize and promote local history,” and the status of the rose as a national symbol, I propose the creation of a federally funded “National Rose Garden” within the National Mall. Given the power of the National Mall as a setting to “celebrate the United States commitment to freedom and equality,” all hybrids would be given names that reflect the systems and policies we cultivate in this country in the name of and denial of ‘freedom and equality.’ The roses would serve as reflections of the American landscape as it is actually encountered as opposed to its idyllic re-telling.