America’s Global War on Terrorism service members will get a memorial on the National Mall.
On December 27th, President Joe Biden signed a bill which approves the construction of a Memorial on the National Mall dedicated to those who have participated and sacrificed in America’s longest war. All uniformed service members, non-uniformed personnel and their families will be able to regard this site as a place to gather, reflect and heal.
Since 2016, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation has advocated for such a place of honor. We insisted that the National Mall be the only place considered for a memorial, since that is the place where America pays tribute to her brave warriors with other war memorials. We were grateful to have many steadfast supporters in our corner as we advocated before Congress to pass legislation. Namely, Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, a combat Veteran, and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, were key drivers of the bill in the U.S. Senate, with Representatives Jason Crow and Mike Gallagher, also Veterans of the Global War on Terrorism, taking up the bill’s cause in the House of Representatives. We’re thankful for them and all the legislators who co-sponsored our bill – not to mention the 35 Veteran Service Organizations and countless other groups and individuals on our side.
Critically, this memorial will also help educate many Americans who are not adequately familiar with the Global War on Terrorism and its significance. Last month, our Foundation released the findings of a survey we commissioned. Forty-two percent of respondents – including 55% of those 18-24 years old – said they didn’t know anyone who had served in the Global War on Terrorism, likely depriving them of first-hand knowledge about the significance of GWOT Veterans’ efforts. As one Gold Star mother has written, “My kids understand why their dad insisted on answering the call to service, and why the events of the last few weeks are so significant. But I’m not confident other young people do, and I wonder if even those who are old enough to remember the Sept. 11 attacks might find themselves uncertain.”
It will likely be several more years before any ribbons are cut. Funds must be raised privately, studies must be conducted and designs must be approved. But America is on track to memorialize a defining conflict of the 21st century – and those who served in it – in the same place we honor our heroes from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
To learn more about the Foundation, visit https://www.gwotmemorialfoundation.org/about/ and follow the Foundation on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.