By Katie Lange
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
The Vietnam Wall and the massive granite columns of the World War II Memorial are some of the first things you picture when you think about war memorials – beautiful shrines honoring the men and women who sacrificed so much during those long-ago wars.
Several younger veterans are hoping to make the same possible for those who served and are still serving in the nation’s longest war – the Global War on Terror.
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation is organizing efforts to build a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to honor U.S. service members, their families and all who have supported our troops during the past 15 years of war.
Now you might be thinking, “Why? We’re still fighting that.” I thought that, too, but I also thought the idea was interesting, so I wanted to find out more about it. I met with three of the men involved in the effort at the National Mall – an appropriate spot to get the details on such an undertaking. It turns out West Point grad and Army veteran Andrew Brennan came up with the idea when he bumped into a group of veteran cyclists on their way to D.C. for the annual Rolling Thunder ride.
“A lot of the Vietnam-era veterans that started the awesome traditions of Rolling Thunder and the Run for the Wall, they’re going to be trading in their Harleys and gold wings soon for golf carts in Florida,” Brennan said. “If these traditions are going to continue, it’s going to be our generation, along with the Desert Storm generation, to continue that.”
The foundation is in its infancy, but several Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are involved think now is the perfect time to begin planning.
“Some of the veterans who fought at the very beginning in 2001, who may have been 40 at the time – right now they’re 55, so if it takes us 10 years, that veteran’s going to be 65 and later in life,” Brennan explained. “It would be great if they’d have the ability to come here and pay their respects … and be able to … explain the history of what they did and what their friends did to their kids and grandkids.”