Design Approved for Gulf War Memorial on National Mall

The effort to build a National Desert Storm Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., passed a significant milestone last week with formal approval of a design concept granted by the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts.

Now, the plan is to have the memorial dedicated by Veterans Day 2021, which would mark the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Gulf War, said Scott Stump, CEO and president of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. The design will be unveiled this week.

“Our eternal thanks go out to the entire design team, along with the Commission of Fine Arts and the National Park Service for helping us reach this very important milestone,” Stump said in a statement.

Fundraising is still underway to meet the projected $40 million cost of the memorial, at a site off Constitution Avenue near the Vietnam Memorial, to honor those who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and liberated Kuwait from the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

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The initial design called for a semi-circular wall to recall the “left hook” by U.S. ground forces through the Saudi desert to cut off Iraqi troops in Desert Storm. It would include the names of the fallen and the 34 countries that joined the U.S. coalition, according to the association’s website.

The effort to establish a Global War on Terrorism Memorial is not as far advanced as the Desert Storm memorial. But it got a boost earlier in November with the introduction of a bill in the House by Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colorado, and Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, that would designate three possible sites for the GWOT memorial.

One proposed site for the memorial, which has yet to get design approval, is near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial; another is near the Korean War Veterans Memorial; and a third is in West Potomac Park near the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial.

A GWOT memorial would be the first in the nation’s capital for a war still underway. The project got past a roadblock in 2017 when Congress agreed to waive the requirement that the construction of war memorials on the Mall had to wait until 10 years after the conflict ended.

The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation is now in the process of raising an estimated $50 million for the project, with a proposed groundbreaking in 2022 and a dedication in 2024.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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