It hardly seems like 20 years. The dedication of the U.S. Navy Memorial on 13 October 1987 was a dazzling program choreographed by Robert Jani, who had done Super Bowl half-time productions and the annual Christmas show at Rockefeller Center. This was a decidedly different event. It was quite a show.
I coaxed director John Cosgrove, a former newsman and Navy veteran well known in the Washington milieu, to chair the Dedication Committee. I was amazed how he accomplished the seemingly impossible, like persuading the city fathers to close Pennsylvania Avenue for about 12 hours-0300 to 1500-so we could use the National Archives' Pennsylvania Avenue portico overlooking the Memorial across the street for our speakers' platform. I attended the meeting with the city committee and was equally amazed at the excitement members exhibited to welcome the Memorial into reality. It was evident that John had greased this procedure.