By Debbie Gregory.
It’s been a few years since former Army Aviation Officer Andrew Brennan began his quest to ensure veterans of the Global War on Terror have a memorial in Washington, D.C.
But, finally, the Pittsburgh veteran’s effort to memorialize his comrades’ sacrifices is set to move forward.
The stumbling block has been the 1986 Commemorative Works Acts, which requires a war to be over for 10 years before a memorial can be built.
On August 3, 2017, the Senate cleared the way for the Global War on Terrorism memorial, unanimously passing the first bill in recent history approving a national war memorial before the fighting is over. The bill cleared the House on July 28th.
For those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, the memorial will be a place to honor their dead and wounded, even as those numbers continue to climb.
“Ten years from the end of never … is always never,” Brennan said as he testified at a congressional hearing.
The bill now goes to the White House, where Brennan said staff have assured him it has the president’s support.
The next step is a detailed 24-step bureaucratic process that will include choosing a site, which could take two years; selecting a design through competition, which could take up to three years; and constructing the memorial.
The memorial will include six themes: endurance, sacrifice, all-volunteer, global, multicultural and unfinished.
The foundation has raised about $300,000 so far, but it is estimated the project will run $40 to $50 million to staff, plan, design and construct the project. Brennan said he expects the memorial to be built by 2024.
“This memorial will be wholly dedicated to our 7,000 brothers and sisters who deployed with us but did not return, and their survivors,” Brennan said. “It is dedicated to the 1 million wounded warriors who are reclaiming their lives back here at home. It is for the soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines who struggle in their transition from combat deployments.”