thehill.com

– Jan C. Scruggs

The Defense Secretary is sending another 500 troops to battle ISIS and, I suppose, other assorted terrorists in Syria and Iraq.  The military has been very busy since 2001 and our casualties have been substantial including over 30,000 wounded.  Financial costs are in the trillions.

Amazingly, everyone seems to get adequately memorialized except the troops who have fought – and who are fighting today.  The time has come to bring this to an end.  There are people who desire and deserve a Memorial in Washington DC.  I am among a group helping to lead the endeavor to success. This includes a growing list of respected military and civilian leaders.   Legislative help will be needed in the near future.   At the Democratic and Republican National Conventions we will be meeting and greeting Members of Congress.

The activity to remember the fallen is substantial, most of whom are non military.

-The Pentagon Memorial was dedicated in 2008 for the 184 who died on 9/11/2001 when a passenger jet hit the building.  The cost was $22,000,000.  Another $75,000,000 is now being sought for a Visitor Center.

– A Flight 93 Memorial, dedicated in 2015  remembers the 40 civilians who died in Shanksville, Pa at a cost of $26,000,000.

– The WTC Memorial in New York was dedicated in 2015.   The cost was  $700,000,000.  Annual operating costs exceed $60,000,000.

All of the above serve important societal needs.  Yet lets remedy the profound error of forgetting people like Lori Pistewa, a Hopi Indian who gave her life in Iraq.  She was the daughter of a Vietnam veteran.  Many loyal Americans did their duty and lost their lives or suffered wounds, both physical and psychological.

This effort is being driven by the veterans themselves.  These are impressive young people led by a 2008 West Point graduate, Andrew Brennan.  A marathon runner,  he served in Afghanistan flying helicopters. There are others like him doing their best to plan and get the Memorial underway.  Getting this done will require navigating a minefield or two of federal officials and the overall legislative process.

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