Alaska and Hawaii, or at least their congressmen, have been urging since 1970 that the names of the two states appear on the Lincoln Memorial.
A congressional resolution, passed and signed by President Gerald Ford during the Bicentennial, ordered just that to be done "at an appropriate place at such memorial," but leaving the place up to the National Park Service.
So far, no one has found the spot that will please everybody.
The American Institute of Architects has urged the Park Service to do nothing to "desecrate this magnificent memorial... leave it as it is."
And a spokesman for the Fine Arts Commission has opposed at least one plan, building two 50-foot flagpoles beside the memorial for the two states' flags, because the flagpoles "would detract" from the classic simplicity of the memorial.
Another proposal, to build two fountains nearby has little support, even though the original plans for the memorial called for two fountains beside the Reflecting Pool. What would happen, critics ask, if the District of Columbia, Guam or Puerto Rico become states and want equal fountain representation?
The Park Service appears to favor a small plaque near the memorial, but there is strong support for something more prominent, like carving ALASKA and HAWAII somewhere on the memorial.
The memorial has 36 columns with the names of the 36 states in the Union at the time of Lincoln's death incised above the columns. On the colonnade overhead are the names of the 48 states, the number in the Union when the memorial was completed in 1922. Since there is no room for additional words, one proposal is to carve yet another list - of all 50 states - leaving room, of course, for additional names.