With a voice vote, the House of Representatives approved a bill today providing for a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial.
This marks the first time Congress has authorized a memorial for an ongoing war to be placed on federal lands. In the days leading up to the vote, several high profile opinions were published encouraging Congress to approve this measure.
General George W. Casey penned an Op-Ed in the Washington Post.
By building a National Global War on Terrorism Memorial, we would forever preserve the memory of those we have lost in the fighting that followed Sept. 11, 2001, continues today and will continue into the foreseeable future.
Andrew J. Brennan, a West Point graduate and veteran of the Afghanistan war, decided to begin the effort to build a memorial after leaving the service, while he was hiking in the west, “finding myself.” His essay published in Air Force Times laid out a vision for the memorial, and the obstacles to be overcome.
Our movement requires more than just the best of intentions. A statute written in 1986 states that a war must be over for 10 years before Congress can consider a memorial. Those 10 years were intended to assess whether a conflict was historically significant enough to warrant permanent space on our National Mall. And yet the conflicts under the big umbrella of the Global War on Terror have already surpassed the decade mark. Their 15 years of continuous warfare equates to 6.3 percent of our nation’s entire history. And most sobering, the burden of that yoke was borne by an all-volunteer force of less than 1 percent of the nation’s population. History is made with every passing day as we continue to fight. We owe it to this generation of service members, veterans and families to erect a monument on our National Mall that can be visited by a citizenry that can still remember the morning of Sept. 11 and the response that followed and continues to this day.
The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation, where Brennan serves as Founder and Executive Director, is raising money to build the memorial. No federal funds will be used in construction.
When this bill winds its way–inevitably–to President Trump’s desk, expect a lot of fanfare as he signs it. I’d also encourage him to help by donating one of his $100,000 quarterly salary checks to the effort.
It took nearly 8 years after the end of combat for Vietnam veterans to have their own memorial, after enduring scorn and shunning upon their return. Our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been fighting for 15 years. It’s time their fallen were honored.