We all appreciate the beauty of the nation's capital. Much of its beauty is the product of the open areas in and around the highly visited government structures along and at each end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

As we look to the future, it is not difficult to foresee the addition of many worthy memorials on these limited open areas. Before we realize what is happening, the open space that has made the area so attractive will be gone -- and gone forever. The House bill to govern the establishment of commemorative works within the capital looks to that eventuality and sets up a guideline for the future. It provides that the Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument, the grounds around the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials and certain other areas, should be retained essentially as they are.

There are many lands within the city, and in this region, including lands administered by the National Park Service, that may provide suitable sites for commemorative memorials. We do not, in H. R. 4378, foreclose them, but we do believe they should be compatible with the site and conform to other public uses.

New ideas should be encouraged. Every commemorative memorial need not be a statue -- living memorials and gardens can provide a pleasant remembrance and be compatible with parklands. We're proposing another concept that seems to be a suitable way to recognize individuals and events without permanently locating a memorial in the Washington area. We think a permanent place should be available for the temporary location of commemorative works.

These "temporary memorials" would receive the usual recognition of "national significance," but would be displayed in Washington only for a limited period of time. At the end of the period, the memorial would be moved to another location to make room for some other deserving commemorative work. In other words, a memorial might be "unveiled" in Washington and then moved to its permanent location in Albuquerque, or Baltimore, or Chicago or some other place suitable for the memorial involved.

There is no good reason why all memorials must be located in the capital. There is good reason to believe that other cities and towns would appreciate -- and take pride in -- having such memorials in their communities.