President Donald Trump recently signed a bill approving the construction of a national memorial, the Global War on Terror Memorial, which will honor those who have fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.
The bill to establish the national memorial was sponsored by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, an Army veteran of the Iraq War, and Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia in the Senate.
Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, and Seth Moulton, D-Massachusetts were the bill’s sponsors on the House side. Both are Marine Corps veterans of the Iraq War.
This bill does not select a location for the Global War on Terror Memorial, but it authorizes its site as somewhere on “federal land in the District of Columbia.” Organizers are hoping for a spot on the National Mall.
The memorial will be 100% privately funded through donations raised by the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation. The estimated cost of construction is $40 million.
What will the Global War on Terror Memorial look like?
Now that the memorial has been approved by Congress and the president, the memorial’s organizers are working on its design. So far, they have announced that the memorial will include 6 themes: endurance, sacrifice, all-volunteer, global, multicultural and unfinished.
My Thoughts About the 6 Themes for the Global War on Terror Memorial
Endurance. Endurance is National Guard soldiers who served 18 months in Iraq and sometimes stayed longer because their deployment was extended for a second time.
Endurance is Marines who served back-to-back deployments, hopping between Iraq and Afghanistan.
Endurance is military spouses who lose track of how many times their spouse has left and returned home.
Endurance takes strength, determination and a faith in the fight.
Sacrifice. More than 7,000 service members have died in the Global War on Terror and more than 52,000 have been wounded. I don’t know how you show the sacrifice on these Americans in a memorial.
In the military community, we all know at least one name. A name that is forever etched in our hearts and our minds. We remember that name along with a date on the calendar. It’s the day of their death. The day that we solemnly remember their life and their sacrifice.
All-Volunteer. More than 2.5 million Americans are estimated to have been deployed in support of the Global War on Terror. Some of these service members were already in the military in 2001. Many were not.
These service members were children when the 9/11 attacks happened. They saw the news on television when they were 10, 12 or 14 years old. Those images stuck with them so that when they turned 18 years old, these men and women raised their right hands and took an oath to serve and protect our nation.
Global. This war has taken our service members to places that I couldn’t pick out on a map before 2001. We know about Iraq and Afghanistan, but what about Kenya, Djibouti and Kuwait?
Multicultural. The diversity of today’s all-volunteer Armed Forces makes my heart swell with pride. As a military spouse, I’m humbled when I meet service members from different races, cultures and economic backgrounds. They are American Indians from Oklahoma, men from the Philippines and women from Miami.
Unfinished. Organizers said the “unfinished” theme has 2 meanings.
First, it reminds us that this ongoing war is still taking place around the globe. The second reason points to the continued personal conflicts of our veterans when they return home.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is no end in sight for this war at home and around the world.
The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation hopes to unveil its memorial by 2024. You can make a donation by visiting the foundation’s website.