Senate File 227 would require the Department of Administrative Services to authorize the placement of a monument to Martin Treptow on the Capitol complex grounds, in consultation with the Capitol Planning Commission.
Treptow worked as a barber in a small shop located in Cherokee, Iowa, according to the Military Hall of Honor.
He enlisted in the Army on July 15, 1917. He and his regiment landed in France in early December of 1917.
Here is part of the story about Treptow, again according to Military Hall of Honor:
On 29 July 1918, Private Martin August Treptow was serving on the Western Front with Company M, 168th Infantry, 84th Brigade, 42nd Division, known as the famed ‘Rainbow Division.’ The Rainbow Division had been in the thickest of the fight and the battle in which they were engaged that day, Chateau Thierry, would end up being recorded in history as one of the most important of WWI.
On the day that the Yanks went across the river and up the hill, a messenger was needed to deliver an important message to one of the company’s platoons. In spite of heavy machine-gun fire and artillery bombardment from the enemy, Private Martin Treptow, then 24 years of age, volunteered and grabbed the message and ran out under fire. As he was nearing the platoon leader, Treptow was killed by a hail of machinegun fire.
Later, in the pocket of his blouse, they found his diary. On the first page, under the heading ‘My Pledge’ he had subscribed his name and written something that many others in his company would eventually copy into their diaries. These were his words:
“America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
The pledge became known as the ‘Treptow Pledge’ after an Iowa Congressman had it included in the Congressional Record.
Democrat Sen. Eric Giddens said he enjoyed learning about Treptow’s story, but has questions about the bill.
One of those questions was how the Department of Administrative Services would work with the Capitol Planning Commission.
“If we pass this bill, we’re requiring this particular monument by state law,” Giddens said. “So, in a way, I’m not real clear on how the consultation with the Capitol Planning Commission will go. It seems like to me we’re not working necessarily with them when making a decision but telling them about a specific monument that needs to be done.”
Giddens said the commission is already planning improvements to the peace officer’s monument and working on a K9 memorial as well.
“It’s not clear to me how this proposed amendment would mesh with those other plans that the Capitol Planning Commission is making right now,” he said. “Would it supersede those and the work they’re hoping to do? How much would it cost us?”
Republican Sen. Roby Smith quoted parts of the bill, which states that the Department of Administrative Services with Capitol Planning Commission shall authorize placement of a monument to Treptow on the Capitol complex grounds.
Proposed designs for the monument shall include a plate, engraving or other method by which the poem “My Pledge” by Treptow shall appear.
Both Smith and his Republican colleague, Sen. Chris Cournoyer, signed off in support of the bill. Giddens did not.
“I still have kind of some concerns about the plans that the Capitol Planning Commission has underway right now with improvements to the peace officers monument and a proposed K9 memorial as well and how this would mesh with those,” he said. “It’d be good to have some more information from the Capitol Planning Commission about those plans.”