The proposed memorial would honor those who have served in the nation’s longest war, including the families of service members.
On Aug. 3, the Senate unanimously passed the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act, clearing the last legislative hurdle needed before the memorial can be created.
The bill, S. 926, creates an exception for the Global War on Terror Memorial in the Commemorative Works Act of 1986, which requires a 10-year wait after the end of a military conflict before a war memorial can be built in the nation’s capital.
The Senate bill mirrored a House bill that had previously passed. Sen. Thom Tillis co-sponsored the Senate bill. Reps. Walter B. Jones Jr., Robert Pittenger and Ted Budd co-sponsored the House version.
The victories in Congress put the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation on solid footing in its attempts to build the memorial. The bills authorize the foundation to begin oversight of fundraising, design and construction of the memorial.
Naturally, given Fort Bragg’s key role in the long-running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are plenty of local ties to those efforts.
Melissa Kim, the foundation’s director of public relations and marketing, is a Spring Lake native and Pine Forest High alumna. She’s now a spouse in San Diego, but said she grew up as a Fort Bragg Army brat.
Michael Rodriguez, one of the foundation’s board members, is a former Fort Bragg soldier who continues to live near the nation’s largest military installation. He served for 21 years, 15 of them as a Special Forces soldier. He deployed nine times and has served with the 7th Special Forces Group and the 1st Special Warfare Training Group.
His wife and oldest son are soldiers on Fort Bragg.
Officials with the foundation have praised the latest milestone in their efforts.
“This memorial will be wholly dedicated to our 7,000 brothers and sisters who deployed with us, but did not return and their survivors. It is dedicated to the one 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,” said Andrew J. Brennan, foundation’s founder and executive director. “We applaud the bipartisan cooperation of our Congress to lift the red tape on this memorial, recognizing that we cannot afford to waste time on ensuring a timely memorial for the three million fighting men and women who have deployed in our nation’s longest war. We’re looking forward to building a sacred place of healing and remembrance for our GWOT veterans, a place for families to gather together to honor their loved ones, and for future generations of Americans to learn about a war they will likely grow up alongside of.”
Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 486-3567.
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