‘MORE THAN A 100-HOUR GROUND WAR’
PERSIAN GULF WAR MEMORIAL ORGANIZERS HOPE TO BREAK GROUND IN 2021
It’s been a long road to get the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial built. With a site selected and a recent large pledge secured, the group in charge of that goal hopes to start construction this year.
As 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of the Persian Gulf War, the leadership of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association is confident that this is the year they will celebrate the groundbreaking of the long-awaited memorial.
"Our goal is to break ground this year about 300 yards from the Lincoln Memorial,” said Scott Stump, president of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. "It will be directly across from the Institute of Peace and close to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, which is relevant since so many senior leaders during the Gulf War were Vietnam veterans.”
Cee Freeman, vice president of the association, noted that before shovels hit dirt, 110 percent of the money to build the memorial must be in the bank.
"In December 2019, we received a $10 million pledge from Kuwait toward the construction of the memorial,” Freeman said. "We still need about $20 million to finish our fundraising.”
Freeman added that donors of $1 million or more will receive recognition on a panel on the approach to the memorial, which is to be located at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street.
Stump credited VFW for getting things started with its $500,000 pledge in 2015, calling the timing of it "phenomenal.”
"A lot of people didn’t want to share the risk,” he added. "VFW stepped up when nobody else would at that level. VFW’s donation has been critical to the success of where we are today.”
Stump noted that in addition to VFW donating at the national level, its Posts also have stepped up in big ways. He specifically mentioned Post 7564 in West Fargo, N.D., which has contributed $19,000.
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VFW Magazine January 2021 1/27/21, 9:23 PM
Stump said the site-approval process, which typically takes 18 months, stretched into three years.
"We had to convince the commission that this memorial will be respectful of the memorials already in place,” he said. "We had to make it fit into the landscape, so ours is truly a landscape- based memorial.
There are four aspects to the memorial:
• Telling the story of what happened during the war;
• Identifying each of the 34 coalition countries that united with the United States to liberate Kuwait;
• Reflecting the unique conditions service men and women experienced; and • Leaving visitors with an enduring memory of the historical significance.
"The circulation pattern will nudge visitors through the memorial in a ‘left hook’ walking pattern,” said Stump, a life member of VFW Post 748 in Knox, Ind. "The memorial walls will be very asymmetric and dune-shaped, so even the architectural components will support the original left hook design, just a bit more subtly.”
Stump said that while some still cite the war as nothing more than 100 hours on the ground, it was indeed more. He noted how the public perception of the military took a pivotal turn during Desert Storm. The memorial will convey this sentiment.
"It was so much more than a 100- hour war,” Stump said. "And at the end of the day, people will remember those who served and learn this story.”
For more information, contact Stump at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ndswm.org. EMAIL email@example.com
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