Who We Are
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Memorial Foundation was formed in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation by a small group of like-minded veterans, military spouses, and supportive Americans to honor the service and sacrifice of all individuals – both uniformed and non-uniformed – who have contributed to global counterterrorism efforts since September 11th, 2001. In 2017, Congress designated the Foundation as the official entity to lead the construction of a Memorial in Washington, D.C.
A distinguished Board of Directors comprised of individuals from both military and non-military backgrounds leads the Foundation, with former President George W. Bush serving as the Foundation’s Honorary Chairman.
Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, a former U.S. Army Green Beret medic and sniper who deployed ten times, is the Foundation’s President and CEO. Rod’s involvement with the GWOT Memorial Foundation began in 2016, when he joined the organization as a board member. Rod later led the organization as President and CEO from March 2018 to September 2020 before taking a leave of absence for a personal matter and an overseas deployment. He was re-appointed President and CEO in December 2021.
Rod is a New Mexico native who comes from a family with a strong tradition of military service. Both his grandfathers served during World War II, and his father is a Vietnam veteran. His eldest son is currently serving with the 82nd Airborne Division and has deployed to the same regions of Afghanistan as Rod. Rod has been an outspoken advocate for veterans and their families and often speaks publicly on the need to increase understanding of life experiences between the civilian and military communities.
“This Memorial will honor the multiple generations of Americans and their families who have served and sacrificed around the world to keep our country safe from terrorism since 9/11. As a veteran of the Global War on Terrorism, I know there are countless other veterans and their families who are eager for a Memorial that will honor the heroism performed in America’s longest war. Our Foundation is laser-focused on this mission, and we welcome the support of all Americans to make the dream of a reverent, inclusive, and apolitical Memorial become a reality.”– Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation President and CEO
Our Vision And Mission
Our vision for the Memorial is for it to be an inclusive, reverent, and apolitical place of honor for all who have served and sacrificed in the ongoing Global War on Terrorism, as well as the countless civilians, family members, and others who have supported them. The Memorial will:
Salute all who served in this conflict: service members, civilians, and their families.
Provide a focal point for healing and reflection on a complex, multigenerational conflict.
Engage and educate civilian and military communities to build mutual understanding
Foster and sustain the sense of patriotism that brought all Americans together in the wake of 9/11, and catalyze support for those continuing to serve.
Our sole mission is to construct an inclusive place of honor for both uniformed and non-uniformed personnel who have served and sacrificed as part of global counterterrorism operations since September 11th, 2001.
Given that the Korean War, Vietnam War, and World War II Memorials are located on the National Mall, we have insisted on the Mall as the only appropriate site for the Memorial. In December 2021, the Foundation achieved this objective, our greatest accomplishment to date. Thanks to outstanding bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, Congress authorized the construction of a national Global War on Terrorism Memorial specifically in the Reserve area of the National Mall. The legislation was passed as an amendment to the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.
Location And Design
As of February 2022, no specific site has been determined, but we anticipate being able to announce one by 2023. With the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act becoming law in December 2021, it is certain that the National Mall will be the Memorial’s home. The Foundation continues to work with authorities such as the National Park Service, the Commission of Fine Arts, and the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, as well as other stakeholders, to determine the most appropriate site.
The map below highlights the Reserve portion of the Mall:
The Global War On Terrorism
The Global War on Terrorism encompasses all counterterror operations undertaken since the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. While many Americans conceive of the GWOT strictly as the U.S-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the reality is the GWOT has entailed various forms of combat and non-combat operations undertaken across several continents. Now continuing more than twenty years, the GWOT is the longest war in American history.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, from 9/11 to 2018 approximately 3.7 million veterans served in the U.S. military. As of December 20, 2021, approximately 7,054 U.S. servicemembers have been killed and 53,323 have been wounded in overseas contingency operations as part of America’s Global War on Terrorism since 9/11.
Vespa, Jonathan, “Those Who Served: America’s Veterans from World War II to the War on Terror,” American Community Survey Report issued June 2020.
U.S. Dept. of Defense, Defense Casualty Analysis System. December 20, 2021.
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Timeline Of Accomplishments
Notable Media Coverage
- President and CEO Michael “Rod” Rodriguez appearance on the American Legion’s Tango Alpha Lima podcast, January 2022.
- Rodriguez appearance on Fox and Friends, December 2021.
- Washington Post op-ed from six former U.S. Secretaries of Defense calling for the Memorial’s construction, September 2021.
- Advisory Board Member and Gold Star Wife Jennie Taylor USA Today op-ed on the importance of a GWOT Memorial on the National Mall, September 2021.
- Advisory Board Member and Gold Star Wife Jane Horton and Joe Kent op-ed at FoxNews.com, May 2020.
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