Polis and Garnett Take Action to Commemorate ‘Colorado’s Proudest War Hero’ | Legislature
Governor Jared Polis and Speaker of the House Alec Garnett on Tuesday kicked off the state’s effort to commemorate Colorado’s “proudest war hero” with a statue in front of the State Capitol.
The statue by Loveland-based sculptor George Lundeen will pay tribute to Major General Maurice Rose, a Denver native and distinguished commander of the military who led American troops during World War I and II.
“Today is another stop on the journey to honor one of the best in our state, in our country,” Polis said from the west steps of the Capitol, overlooking the site where the statue will be placed. “The life of General Maurice Rose, truly one for the ages.”
According to Marshall Fogel, a retired lawyer who wrote a two-part biography on Rose, the subject of the statue “is the most decorated battle tank commander in US military history.” negotiate the surrender of the German army in Africa.
Rose, a Jewish man, also led the first tank unit to cross the German border during World War II and was the highest ranking American serviceman killed by enemy fire in the European theater during that conflict. He died in Germany while commanding the 3rd Armored Division in March 1945, the last days of the conflict, and was buried in the American Cemetery and Memorial in the Netherlands.
“General Rose never made it home… so it seems entirely appropriate that we begin the quest to really give him a final resting place to celebrate in his hometown,” Polis said.
The statue was originally to be authorized by Bill 1257, which also renamed the pair of parks just west of the State Capitol building where the statue will stand as the Lincoln Veterans’ Memorial Park . But an amendment by the bill’s sponsors early in the legislative process, made at the request of the Capitol Development Committee and the Capitol Building Advisory Committee, removed permission to build the monument.
Instead, Garnett, D-Denver, and Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, pushed authorization through the legislature via a different mechanism, House Joint Resolution 1012. Both HB 1257 and HJR 1012 also have Senate President Leroy Garcia as their main co-sponsor.
Garnett at the ceremony signed the resolution, nearly two months after being granted third reading in the Senate. According to Legislative Legal Services, there is no deadline for the Speaker of the House and the Speaker of the Senate to sign a joint resolution.
The resolution enjoyed unanimous support from lawmakers, a fact Garnett noted in his comments.
“I thought about the day and age we find ourselves in, the fact that people nationwide are fighting against each other over which statues to erect and which statues to tear down,” Garnett said. “It’s very important to point out that General Rose’s resolution was passed unanimously by the Colorado General Assembly in 2021.
“It shows what an incredible leader, an incredible Colorado and what an incredible war hero General Rose was.”