previous arrow
next arrow
previous arrow
next arrow

WWI Memorial sculpture header

National WWI Memorial Project Timeline

[Back to the Memorial Site]

  • September 2012
  • 09/10

    Public Law 112-272 introduced by Senator Ted Poe (R-TX)


    Public Law 112-272 was introduced to Congress by Representative Ted Poe (R-TX). This provided for the creation of the World War One Centennial Commission, a non-taxpayer funded agency tasked with overseeing the design and construction of a National World War One Memorial in Washington, DC's Pershing Park, as well as educational and commemorative efforts to increase national awareness of the First World War.

  • January 2013
  • 01/14

    Public Law 112-272 signed by President Obama


    Public Law 112-272 signed by President Obama, effectively creating the United States World War One Centennial Commission.

  • September 2013
  • 09/13

    WWICC Meets for the First Time


    The World War One Centennial Commission for their inaugural meeting in Kansas City, Missouri at the National World War One Museum at Liberty Memorial.

  • November 2013
  • 11/15

    WWICC Meets for the Second Time


    Commissioner Edwin Fountain suggests a National WWI Memorial for the National Mall at the second Commission in Kansas City.

  • April 2014
  • 04/09

    WWICC Meets for the Fourth Time


    At the Commission's fourth meeting, the Commissioners discussed finalizing draft legislation for Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) to introduce to Congress to recognize the Liberty Memorial and Pershing Park as National World War One Memorials.

  • 04/28

    Representative Cleaver (D-MO) Introduces HR 4489 to Congress


    Representative Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MO) introduced HR 4489 to Congress, the World War One Memorial Act of 2014. The was bill to designate the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri and Pershing Park in Washington, DC as National World War One Memorials.

  • June 2014
  • 06/10

    Edwin Fountain Testifies to Congress


    Vice Chair Edwin Fountain testifies to Congress in support of the World War One Memorial Act of 2014.

  • July 2014
  • 07/27

    Memorial Design Competition Recommended to Commission


    At the fifth Commission meeting, Vice Chair Edwin Fountain suggests a competition be used to decide the Pershing Park memorial design.

  • December 2014
  • 12/06

    Pritzker Museum Donates $5 Million


    Pritzker Military Museum and Library donates $5 million to the World War One Centennial Commission in an effort to support the Commission's goals of commemorating those who fought and educating Americans about the Great War.

  • 12/09

    Sixth Commission Meeting


    At the sixth Commissioners' meeting, Commissioner Edwin Fountain announces to the Commission that theNational Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year of 2015 includes a section that designates Liberty Memorial and Pershing Park as National World War One Memorials. The Commission set up the parameters for a jury to decide the winning memorial design, retaining competition managers Donald Statsny of Oregon and Roger Lewis of Washington, DC, for oversight of the competition.

  • 12/19

    Public Law 113-291 Passes


    Public Law 113-291, containing an amendment to the Commemorative Works Act, is enacted, allowing for donor contributions to be made for commemorative works projects. This allows for private sponsors to donate money to the construction of a WWI Memorial and for a sponsor to be openly acknowledged somewhere on the Memorial.

  • March 2015
  • 03/12

    Donald Statsny to Create Competition Manual


    Donald Statsny tasked with creating a competition manual. The Commission reviewed Stage I and II guideline parameters for the competition.

  • May 2015
  • 05/13

    WWICC Announced Design Competition


    WWICC publicly announced a forthcoming competition to design a National World War I Memorial located in Pershing Park on Pennsylvania Avenue, one block east of the White House.

  • 05/21

    WWICC Initiates Competition


    The World War One Centennial Commission launched the competition and published a Competition Manual for potential designers and design teams.

  • July 2015
  • 07/21

    Stage I of Competition Complete


    Over 350 different designs received for Stage I of the Design Competition.

  • August 2015
  • 08/14

    WWICC Releases Stage I Report


    Design Competition Jury released Stage I report. This report discussed the conclusions reached by the Jury and their thoughts on the various designs.

  • 08/19

    Stage II Design Concepts Announced


    Stage II design concept selections announced. Five concepts were selected by the commission to proceed to Stage II. Those selected include: "Plaza to the Forgotten War" submitted by Brian Johnsen, AIA; Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, LEEP AP; and Andrew Cesarz, at Johnsen Schmaling Architects, Milwaukee, WI; "World War One Memorial Concept" submitted by Devin Kimmel, Principal at Kimmel Studio, llc in Annapolis, MD"; "The Weight of Sacrifice" submitted by Joseph Weishaar of Chicago, IL; "An American Family Portrait Wall in the Park" submitted by STL Architects in Chicago, IL; and "Heroes' Green" submitted by Maria Counts, of Counts Studio in Brooklyn, NY.

  • December 2015
  • 12/03

    WWICC Vice Chair Briefs the NCPC


    Vice Chair Edwin Fountiain briefed the National Capital Planning Commission regardng the design competition and five finalist designs.

  • 12/14

    WWICC Displays Finalist Designs


    Public Display of Design Competition Stage II Finalist Designs at Wilson Building in downtown Washington, DC, with simultaneous online exhibition receiving public comments.

  • January 2016
  • 01/05

    Jury Meets to Discuss Design Competition


    Jury met in Arlington, VA, and Washington, DC, to review the Stage II final designs as well as recommend the selected design to the WWICC.

  • 01/20

    Jury Releases Design Report


    The July publishes a report to the WWICC on the five Stage II designs.

  • 01/26

    WWICC Chooses Winning Design for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park


    "Weight of Sacrifice" chosen by Commission as the design for the memorial and announced to the press (Washington Post, The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and others) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. WWICC Vice Chair Edwin Fountain, Representative Emanuel Cleaver, and Sandra Pershing spoke at the Press Club announcement. The design concept was submitted by Joseph Weishaar, an architect-in-training currently located in Chicago, IL, and collaborating artist, veteran sculptor Sabin Howard, of New York.

  • October 2016
  • 10/20

    First CFA Presentation


    First presentation to the US Commisson of Fine Arts: CFA notes a fundamental challenge between presevation and re-conceptualization of the historic park designed by Paul M. Friedberg.

  • February 2017
  • 02/16

    Follow up presentaiton to CFA


    Multiple revised design concepts are presented to the US Commission of Fine Arts

  • May 2017
  • 05/18

    CFA grants "Concept Approval"


    A revised design with the sculpture nested within the Western Terrace with a viewing platform, is presented and the general approach and concept is approved.

  • February 2018
  • 02/18

    Progress presentation to CFA


    Many months of design refinements and progress are presented to the CFA

  • May 2018
  • 05/17

    Progress presentation to CFA


    Design continues and another progress report is presented to the CFA

  • July 2018
  • 07/17

    Model and freestanding wall concept presented to CFA


    The US Commission of Fine Arts accepts the design revision of a freestanding wall and the concept is approved.

  • September 2018
  • 09/26

    Next report to CFA presented


    The memorial revisions, refinements on scultpture, secondary interpretive elements and planting strategy are presented. The CFA voices strong support for the landscape and planting approach.

  • November 2018
  • 11/06

    Next report to CFA presented


    Pool, Walkway and ADA access improvements, sculpture refinements are presented. The CFA approves all presented issues

  • February 2019
  • 02/21

    Next report to CFA presented


    The lighting design, furnishing and materials selection are presented. The furnishing and materials are approved.

  • April 2019
  • 04/18

    Next report to CFA presented


    Lighting revisions, the walkways and final scultpture scale are presented. CFA approves walkway design, overall lighting concept, and the sculpture scale.

  • May 2019
  • 05/16

    Next report to CFA presented


    CFA approves the interpretive elements and detailing with revisions to the sculpture details.

  • July 2019
  • 07/18

    Next report to CFA presented


    CFA approves the responses to the lighting and scultpture details, plus security plan and various other refinements and details

  • August 2019
  • 08/01

    Sculpture armatures 1-11 to New Jersey


    The first shipment of full scale armatures arrives at Sabin Howard Studios in New Jersey having been prepped and shipped at the Pangolin Editions foundry in the UK. The sculpture armatures are full scale, dense foam forms with 1/4 of clay on them that the sculptor uses as a base to sculpt the final figures from. The sculptor Sabin Howard now begins work on figures 1-11.

  • September 2019
  • 09/18

    Final design document is presented


    An 80-page Design document detailing the National WWI Memorial in Washington, D.C. summarizing the work and collaboration over the past 35 months is presented. In a major project milestone, the design document is unanimously approved by the US Commission of Fine arts.

  • October 2019
  • 10/03

    NCPC also approves final design


    Having tracked along with the CFA meetings over the months, on this date the National Capital Planning Commission, the NCPC also approved the final design clearing the way for the project to seek construction permits from the Department of the Interior and the supervising National Park Service.

  • 10/09

    Second group of sculpture armatures to New Jersey


    The second shipment of armatures arrives at Sabin Howard Studios.

  • December 2019
  • 12/10

    Construction Permit issued


    With the Memorial design team having completed and receiving approval of their design, the National Park Service issues the official permit for construction.

  • 12/12

    Official Construction Launch


    WWI Centennial Commission Chairman Terry Hamby, Sec. Bernhardt, ADM Mike Mullen, Senator Warner and other WWICC leadership and dignitaries gather at the Memorial for the official construction launch photo op.

  • 12/19

    Construction Begins


    Grunley Construction begins the physical construction of the National WWI Memorial starting with a detail inventory of existing elements, stonework and individual pavers that will catalogued, removed, refurbished and reused in the Memorial construction as part of the heritage preservation of the original site.

  • March 2020
  • 03/05

    Third group of sculpture armatures to New Jersey


    Third shipment of armatures arrives at Sabin Howard Studios

  • May 2020
  • 05/12

    Final group of sculpture armatures to New Jersey


    Final shipment of armatures arrives at Sabin Howard Studios. All 38 figures that assemble into the 58.5 foot long centerpiece sculpture are now at the Sabin Howard Studio. The incredible full-size scope of the piece is visible for the first time.

  • August 2020
  • 08/08

    First 11 sculpture figures completed


    After a year of work, Sabin and his team complete figures 1-11 known as "the departure scene" of the Memorial sculpture. This represents about 1/3 of the full piece. On 9/3/2020 the sculptor expresses his elation at this landmark moment in a Zoom session attended by Commissioners, major donors, advisors, staff and project friends.

  • September 2020
  • 09/07

    First 11 sculpture figures ship back to foundry


    Echoing events a century earlier Figures 1-11 ship out from New Jersey back to the Pangolin Editions foundry to be cast in bronze. The sculptor begins on the next group of figures known as "The Battle Scene".

"Pershing" Donors

$5 Million +

Founding Sponsor
PritzkerMML Logo

Starr Foundation Logo

The Lilly Endowment