New federal marker in downtown Charleston honors life of longtime Lowcountry congressman

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Congressman Lucius Mendel Rivers secured valuable military projects for Charleston. After World War II, he helped make sure the first major federal building project after the war in South Carolina was completed.

Family members were speechless as they watched the unveiling of their father’s name embedded in the Holy City’s soil.

“It awes me and I cannot tell you how much that anybody could honor him this long after his death,” says Margaret Rivers Eastman, Mendel Rivers’ daughter.

City leaders acknowledged the courage of the Berkeley County native and congressman they say stood for the meaning of D-day.

“He realized the cause that we were fighting for against tyranny and to support freedom and liberty around the world,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

The Lucius Mendel Rivers federal building was built in 1964 and 1965. It housed offices for 30 federal government agencies until 1999 and the building was empty until the Dewberry opened in 2016. Leaders say Rivers gave back to the military, museums, and Lowcountry universities.

“Made sure that the veteran’s administration was going to provide medical care for veterans and their families for decades and generations to come,” says Mayor Tecklenburg.

President Dondi Costin of Charleston Southern University spoke about River’s donations for the school’s library and other buildings.

“He didn’t do it for himself he did it for others and so as a retired military officer, I stand in the shadow of Mendel Rivers in so many ways,” says President Costin.

Leaders say Rivers legacy lives on.

“He did exactly what we would hope any of us would do and that takes full advantage of what you have been given not for yourself, but for the service of others,” says President Costin.

Mayor Tecklenburg says congressman Rivers impact on Joint Base Charleston has helped with the base’s economic impact, which is now more than $10 billion every year.

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