As many of you may already know, The Global War on Terrorism Memorial (GWOT) Location Act, signed into law by President Biden in December 2021, authorizes the construction of a GWOT Memorial within the Reserve area of the National Mall. Since then, we have been hyper focused on doing all the work necessary to secure a specific site for the Memorial on the Mall.
We retained the help of Winstanley Architects & Planners, serving as Executive Architect, and AECOM, memorial planners, to provide specialized services for the project. They developed a formalized process to give voice to our most sacred stakeholders and created a roadmap for the implementation of the Memorial.
We must closely follow a complex regulatory process to meet all necessary requirements. The process includes complying with the Commemorative Works Act (CWA), a Memorials and Museums Master Plan document identifying potential sites, and an established 24-step process for authorizing, designing, and implementing a new memorial on the Mall.
The CWA lays out specific requirements for a national memorial. It requires that we partner with the National Park Service (NPS) and consult with the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) to ensure the Memorial meets all design requirements set forth by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and functional requirements set forth by the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).
It’s an iterative, and often exhausting, process. The Foundation is committed to navigating this process in an inclusive, collaborative, expeditious and transparent manner to ensure the GWOT Memorial is dedicated as soon as possible so that all GWOT veterans, their families and the world can see its dedication.
On October 18, 2022, we appeared before the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) to present and review the Foundation’s site selection plan. You can find more information about that meeting here.
This was a monumental meeting. It was the first of its kind in almost twenty years, as the central Mall has essentially been closed to any new memorials since 2003. The Foundation and its legislative allies fought hard to pass both the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act in 2021 and the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act in 2017. The latter piece of legislation exempts the GWOT Memorial from a 10-year waiting period from the end of a conflict and authorizes the Foundation to oversee the creation of the Memorial now.
The meeting was also important because it provided us with an opportunity to reinforce just how important the Memorial is to our GWOT heroes and their families, and how it will be a sacred space for all Americans to better understand and process the events of the past 21 years.
As of this writing, several sites in the Reserve portion of the National Mall are currently under consideration. Working closely with NCMAC and our other partners, we hope to determine the most appropriate site for the Memorial by 2023.
We are grateful for the many supporters like you who continue to advocate on behalf of our mission every day. We are committed to honoring all who served, helping veterans and loved ones heal, empowering all Americans, and uniting our country in the same spirit we had after 9/11.
With your help, we will one day soon have a Memorial all Americans can be proud of, and one that tells the story of a complex, multigenerational war.
Michael “Rod” Rodriguez is the President & CEO of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation.