The Doughboy Foundation’s mission is to keep the story of "the War that Changed the World" in the minds of all Americans, so that the 4.7 million who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWI will never again be relegated to the mists of obscurity. LEARN MORE
The Doughboy Foundation’s mission is to keep the story of "the War that Changed the World" in the minds of all Americans, so that the 4.7 million who served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWI will never again be relegated to the mists of obscurity. LEARN MORE
(left) Terry Hamby, Chair of the U. S. World War I Centennial Commission, and General Mark Milley, USA, 20th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stand at attention from the reading of the Citation for Hamby's Distinguished Public Service Award at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC. (right) Milley pins the medal on Hamby.
WWI Centennial Commission Chair receives Distinguished Public Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Terry Hamby and General Mark Milley display the Citation for the Distinguished Public Service Award that Hamby received.
Terry W. Hamby, the Chair of the United States World War I Centennial Commission, received the Distinguished Public Service Award from General Mark A. Milley, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a ceremony May 28, 2021 at the National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.
The award was presented in recognition of Hamby's "extraordinary contributions as the Chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission." In particular, the award highlighted Hamby's leadership of the Commission "to completion of its mission to build the United States National War Memorial in Washington, DC. "
Hamby was appointed to the Commission by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was elected Chair on September 13, 2017.
Hamby is a Viet Nam veteran, serving in the Naval Air Wing during the conflict. After discharge he joined the US Army Reserve, retiring with 26 years of service in 1993.
Hamby is part of a family filled with a tradition of military service, with his Great Grandfather serving in the Civil War Union Army, his Grandfather was in the Army during WWI, his father served in the Army Pacific Theater during WWII, his son served in the Navy during the Persian Gulf War, and his grandson is now serving. Hamby's grand uncle was killed serving in the Army in WWI.
As a result, Mr. Hamby has dedicated his life to serving and honoring our U.S. military and is a Life Member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
During his four years of membership and leadership, Hamby led the World War I Centennial Commission through the design approval proceess and fundraising effort that ultimately earned the Commission a construction permit for the National World War I Memorial in 2019.
Construction of the Memorial began in December, 2019, and the Memorial was opened to the public on April 16, 2021 during the First Colors Ceremony.
The National World War One Memorial opened in Washington, DC on April 17. The sculpture is still being finalized. CREDIT COURTESY OF: THE U.S. WORLD WAR ONE CENTENNIAL COMMISSION
Atlanta Architect Creates First National World War I Memorial In Washington, D.C.
By Summer Evans via the wabe.org (Atlanta, GA) radio station web site
Until now, our nation’s capital has never had an official tribute to the 4.7 million Americans who served in World War I. After winning a design competition held by the World War I Centennial Commission, Atlanta architect Joe Weishaar lead the creation of the new memorial which opened in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. He joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about the process of designing this tribute to America’s soldiers.
“It wasn’t until the Vietnam Memorial in 1982 that we really started building national memorials, and once that process started, it really went in reverse chronological order,” said Weishaar. “It wasn’t until we had no living veterans that we got around to building the World War I Memorial.”
Weishaar, born in a small town in Arkansas, confessed that he knew little about the war before the memorial project.
“This entire process has been a re-education in the war … There was this entire piece of world history that I seemed to be missing,” said Weishaar. “There’s a great, I would say almost overlooked, amount of both technology and global influence that we still feel today from World War I. Its impacts were ever-reaching.”
The memorial will feature a sculpture called “A Soldier’s Journey,” created in collaboration with sculptor Sabin Howard. The finalized sculpture is expected to be completed in 2024. Its 38 bronze relief figures will depict a soldier who leaves his family, fights and loses comrades in the conflict, and returns home wounded.
“When it’s completed, it will be the largest bronze high relief in the Western hemisphere. It’s absolutely enormous,” said Weishaar. Howard and Weishaar’s team worked with film studios, using augmented reality technology, to perfect the poses of the sculpture’s figures. Howard is using 3D-printed armatures as foundational structures for each piece.
Located in Pershing Park in Washington D.C., the memorial currently displays Howard’s original illustration for the sculpture-in-progress, and features a peace fountain, pool basin, newly landscaped plazas, and groves of trees. There are educational resources throughout the memorial, including an app for iPhone and Android that visitors can use as a guide.
“The Hello Girls,” a musical about America’s first female soldiers in World War I, was developed in Johnson City and performed at the opening of the National World War I memorial in Washington, D.C.
WWI Memorial opening ceremony features song developed in Southern Tier
By Lorena Maggiore via the Pipe Dream (Binghamton University, NY) web site(
On April 16, the World War I Memorial site in Pershing Park, Washington, D.C., was unveiled in a livestreamed ceremony of the Inaugural Raising of the Flag. The event covered the history of World War I and included numerous speakers whose family members served in the war. Viewers learned about the “Doughboys,” the “Hello Girls” and other veterans who gave their service to the country. The Binghamton community played a role in this, as a song about the “Hello Girls,” which was written in Johnson City, was performed at the ceremony.
The “Hello Girls” were a group of America’s first women soldiers. “The Hello Girls” were bilingual in French and English and served the American Expeditionary Forces as telephone operators during World War I. The “Hello Girls” connected over 26 million calls, joined the Signal Corps and worked at the frontlines in 1917. In 1918, 223 of the women were sent to work at Army Switchboards across Europe. The Department of War denied the “Hello Girls” veteran status. The “Hello Girls” made an effort for recognition as veterans for nearly 60 years until Congress granted them veteran status in 1977.
A number from Peter Mills and Cara Reichel’s musical “The Hello Girls,” was presented in the livestream. The song, “Making History,” details some of the efforts made by the “Hello Girls” during and after World War I. Naima Kradjian, chief executive officer of Goodwill Theatre Inc., a nonprofit organization restoring the Goodwill Theatre in Johnson City, spoke of the cooperation between the Goodwill Theatre, the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City and the Prospect Theater Company in New York City.
“We had been partnering with the director Cara Reichel since 2007, and she is the director and also the lyricist for ‘The Hello Girls,‘“ Kradjian said. “Around 2015 we started to partner directly with Prospect Theater Company. And then in 2018, she contacted us and [Reichel] wanted to see about bringing ‘The Hello Girls’ up for them to do a staged reading and work out some problems they were having.”
Kradjian said that Reichel and Mills wrote one of “The Hello Girls” songs while traveling to Johnson City and the cast came to Johnson City for a week where they worked on and performed a staged reading of the first act and part of the second act of “The Hello Girls” at the Firehouse Stage. The musical was performed as a part of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers’ (ASCAP) Musical Theater Week at The Kennedy Center in 2019 and the Prospect Theater Company’s IGNITE Series concert at the Peter Jay Sharpe Theater at Symphony Space in 2020. Kradjian said that these events helped raise money for building a World War I monument.
“The [World War I Centennial Commission] and [The Doughboy Foundation] got in touch with Reichel and Mills,” Kradjian said. “They were looking for ways to get people to think about [World War I]. They did a Kennedy Center tribute, a concert version [and] some performances during Fleet Week for the head of the Navy, and then they were asked to do this which is quite an honor.”
Kradjian said she was glad that “The Hello Girls” musical helped contribute to memorializing World War I veterans at a national level. She also said she was proud that the Johnson City theaters were able to provide a space for “The Hello Girls” musical to be developed.
“It’s pretty amazing to have something created in our space that is then in the nation’s capital, paying honor at such a prestigious event,” Kradjian said. “I’m so proud that it’s part of a national conversation. Something that was performed, that song [‘Making History’] was performed, for the very first time in front of people in our space.”
New World War I Memorial Unveiled in First Colors Ceremony
By Mac Caltrider via the Coffee or Die web site
It’s been more than 100 years since Pvt. Henry Gunther fixed his bayonet and fatefully charged a German machine-gun nest. He was acting alone, trying desperately to salvage a tarnished reputation. As both Americans and Germans cried out for Gunther to stop, he rushed forward until a burst from the enemy guns struck Gunther in his temple, making him the last official casualty of World War I.
The new World War I Memorial’s temporary canvas artwork. Photo from World War One Centennial Commission/Facebook.
Gunther was just one of about 3,000 men to die after the Treaty of Versailles was signed. Although the treaty marked the official end to the conflict, it took six hours for news of the war’s end to spread across Europe. Among those tragically killed in the final moments of the cataclysm were 320 Americans. Until now, those casualties, along with the more than 116,000 other Americans killed in the war, did not have a proper memorial in Washington, DC.
On Friday, the new World War I memorial was revealed during a “first colors” ceremony. The ceremony kicked off with “To the Colors,” played on Gen. John J. Pershing’s personal bugle. As the melody echoed throughout the nearly 2 acres of Pershing Park, Old Glory was hoisted over the memorial for the first time.
The flag used for the ceremony has its own impressive history. It was the same flag flying over the Capitol when the United States first joined World War I in 1917. Later, it flew over cemeteries in Europe housing Americans killed in the war and eventually made its way back to the US where it flew over the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri.
Members of a military ceremonial honor guard march off followed by members of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" at the conclusion of a dedication ceremony for the World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Friday, April 16, 2021.
Another national memorial comes to DC, this time to pay tribute to those who served in World War I
By Carlos Bongioanni via the Stars and Stripes newspaper web site
WASHINGTON — It’s officially open, but the new World War I Memorial in the nation’s capital is far from complete.
The central design element for the $42 million memorial is a roughly 60-foot long, 12-foot high sculpture wall that will feature nearly-life-size men and women, depicting various aspects of wartime life. But the sculptures won’t be completed and added to the wall until 2024. In the meantime, a canvas with artists’ sketches of the future sculpture hangs on the wall.
The site for the new memorial was previously known as Pershing Park, and some elements of the old park have been preserved and incorporated into the new. A statue of Gen. John J. Pershing and two memorial walls with engravings of pertinent information about the war remain on the southeast corner of the memorial. Known as the General of the Armies, Pershing returned home a national hero after he commanded the American Expeditionary Forces on the Western Front in World War I.
When Pershing Park was built, the general was the main focus of the park named after him. The new memorial seeks to expand the scope of the tribute to include a broad array of people who served during the war.
In a “first Colors” ceremony on Friday, the U.S. flag was raised over the site for the first time, as the former city park took on an elevated status as a “National” memorial, although the National Park Service will not be responsible for the memorial’s upkeep.
The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and a ceremonial military honor guard were on hand as military members raised the flag, and an Army musician played taps on a bugle that belonged to Gen. Pershing. Soon after, two F-22 Raptors roared overhead to pay tribute.
Attendees at Friday’s event were treated to about an hour of prerecorded remarks from celebrities, politicians and a number of influential people who helped bring the memorial to fruition. President Joe Biden noted how fitting it was to recognize the sacrifice of those who went through the “horror” of a war that involved, among other things, chemical weapons and gruesome fighting from trench to trench.
“In some ways, the Great War shifted America’s thinking about ourselves and redefined our place in the world,” Biden said.
Marine veteran Chris Kuhns and his wife, Gabrielle, volunteered to attend the event as World War I reenactors. He wore a WWI-era Marine Corps uniform, while she wore an outfit to portray a Salvation Army Doughnut Girl.
“This is incredibly important to both of us. We both have family members who fought in the war,” said Chris Kuhns.
Ceremony Heralds Opening of WWI Memorial in Washington
By Lolita C. Baldor via the nbcwashington.com (DC) web site
The new World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C., will open to the public Saturday, and its launch was marked by a ceremony and flag-raising in honor of the 4.7 million veterans who served in what's known as America's Great War.
In remarks during the virtual ceremony, President Joe Biden paid tribute to the 4.7 million who served in the war, and the 116,516 Americans who lost their lives in it.
“Let us remember all that was sacrificed, all that was sanctified by the proud brave Americans who served in World War 1,” said Biden in taped remarks. “More than 100 years have passed, but the legacy and courage of those Doughboys sailing off to war and the values they fought to defend still live in our nation today.”
In December 2014, President Barack Obama signed legislation authorizing the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission to establish the memorial. And it re-designated Pershing Park, an existing memorial to Gen. John J. Pershing, commander of American forces in World War I, as the national World War I Memorial.
The First Colors ceremony on Friday included the raising of a flag by the U.S. military's 3d Infantry Regiment, known as the Old Guard. The flag flew over the U.S. Capitol on April 6, 2017, the 100-year anniversary of the day the United States entered the war. World War I is the last of the nation's four major 20th Century wars to be commemorated with a memorial in Washington, D.C.
The war, said Biden, was the first modern conflict, with the first use of planes and tanks.
Team Member Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Contributes to WWI Tribute Space
Washington, DC’s First World War I Memorial Celebrates Opening with First Colors Ceremony
via the Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. web site
Washington, DC’s first World War I Memorial celebrated its grand opening today with a live-broadcast First Colors Ceremony. The United States World War I Centennial Commission, the Doughboy Foundation, the National Parks Service, and the American Battle Monuments Commission gathered together virtually with people across the Nation to watch the historic inaugural raising of the American Flag at a site dedicated to honor the service of 4.7 million World War I Veterans. This 75-minute program, led by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, featured military fanfare, musical performances, and guest appearances from military leads and elected officials.
As the first World War I Memorial to exist in the Nation’s Capital, the new site provides a dynamic urban space that educates and inspires Americans about this significant event in history. Located on 1.8 acres adjacent to the White House South Lawn with views of the Washington Monument and National Mall, a reflection pool and 60-foot-long by 10-foot-high bronze sculpture serves as the centerpiece of the park. This urban park will provide space for reflection and commemoration, in addition to connectivity to the larger network of nearby memorials and monuments.
The project commenced in 2015 when the World War I Centennial Commission hosted an international design competition. With more than 350 submissions, lead designer, Joe Weishaar, and sculptor, Sabin Howard, were selected as the winners. As a teaming partner to Baltimore-based GWWO Architects, VHB provided site engineering for the project that included a stormwater management solution that will collect harvested rainwater for irrigation of all new plantings associated with the new memorial, while also reducing stormwater runoff.
“VHB was honored to play a part in this long overdue project for our Nation’s Capital,” said Jim Long, Chief Civil Engineer with VHB. “Like so many across our Nation, I have a direct personal connection to World War I through my Grandfather and Uncle who served. Participating on this project allowed me to play a role in creating a space for many like me who want to pay tribute to this historic event. This urban park’s location in an iconic part of Washington will provide a space to reflect, mourn, and celebrate those who represented and sacrificed so much over one hundred years ago to protect and honor the America we know today.”
That Noise You Heard Overhead Was Part Of A Planned Memorial Ceremony
By Margaret Barthel via the dcist.com (DC) web site
You may have looked up at the sky a few minutes ago and thought: Okay, that one wasn’t a helicopter.
And you were right. The loud sound heard overhead around D.C. shortly after 11 a.m. was a flyover from some fighter jets, part of the dedication of the new National World War I Memorial in D.C.
The jets were part of a live broadcast ceremony meant to commemorate the sacrifices of the “4.7 million Americans [who] sent their sons and daughters off to fight a war that would change the world,” according to a press release from the World War I Centennial Commission. Besides the flyover, officials also unveiled an American flag first flown in D.C. on April 6, 2017, the centennial of the United States’ entrance into World War I. Since then, the flag has been on tour, flying over American battlefield cemeteries in Europe. It will now be a permanent fixture at the World War I memorial on the National Mall.
The flyover was close to the White House, where the daily press briefing was, for once, drowned out.
On April 16, 2021, the World War I Centennial Commission, in partnership with the National Park Service, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the Doughboy Foundation, raised the flag of the United States of America over the new National World War I Memorial. on Washington, DC.
National World War I memorial site dedicated on Pershing Park in D.C.
By Anthony Deng via thelocaldvm.com web site (DC)
WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Pershing Park is now the memorial site of World War I.
The memorial site lays on now-former Pershing Park, which is near the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. The Pershing Park was opened in 1981, named after the Army General John Pershing who fought in World War I, but the park had been recreational use only for the district residents.
The World War I Centennial Commission, which was established by the Obama administration after Congress passed the “World War I Centennial Commission Act,” established a new memorial in the nation’s capital after the administration signed legislation in December 2014.
A few months later in May 2015, the Commission launched an open, two-stage international design competition to redevelop Pershing Park as a World War I memorial. The Commission was looking for a design of a memorial that would “take its rightful place next to the National Memorials to the other wars of the 20th century.”
“The Commission sought a memorial that would convey the significance of World War I in national and world history, as well as the character of American service in the war and the scale of American sacrifice,” stated on its website. According to the Commission, more than 350 entries received and five were chosen to advance to a second stage by an independent jury of experts. In January of 2016, the commission chose the design concept submitted by architect Joseph Weishaar, and sculptor Sabin Howard.
Construction of the World War I Memorial began on December 19, 2019.
On April 16, 2021, the WWICC, in partnership with the National Park Service, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the Doughboy Foundation, raised the flag of the United States of America over the new National World War I Memorial.
The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" plays as the Star Spangled Banner is raised for the first time over the new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC.
National World War I Memorial unveiled in DC
By Jeremy Beaman via the Washington Examiner newspaper (DC) web site
A new memorial honoring the 4.7 million people who served in World War I was introduced on Friday in Washington, D.C.
The World War I Centennial Commission, with help from service members representing each branch of the military, presented the National World War I Memorial in a first colors ceremony in Pershing Park. Most of the ceremony, which was livestreamed, was prerecorded.
“Let's remember all that was sacrificed, all that was sanctified by our proud, brave Americans who served in World War I,” President Joe Biden said during prerecorded remarks aired during the ceremony. “The commitment and valor of the American women and men who stepped up to serve, whether here at home or on the front lines in Europe, was the same spirit that has always defined American service members.”
While the D.C. War Memorial has honored residents of the district who gave their lives in World War I since 1931, the new memorial is the first one established in Washington to honor all of those who served in World War I.
Edwin Fountain, the former vice chairman of the WWI Centennial Commission who was described by one speaker as the “visionary” behind the memorial, described how the idea for the project emerged he was visiting the D.C. War Memorial.
“I thought, ‘Why do we have national memorials to three of the four great wars of the 20th century but not to the Great War?’” Fountain said during the virtual ceremony.
The flag raised during the ceremony was first flown over Washington on April 6, 2017, and subsequently over WWI battlefield cemeteries throughout Europe, the World War I Centennial Commission said in a news release. It will be the permanent flag to fly above the memorial.
Along with the memorial's main fixture, a monument portraying troops in various combat and noncombat scenes, the memorial includes a selection of verse from 20th-century poet and former Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish, himself a World War I veteran.
“They say, Whether our lives and our deaths were for peace and a new hope or for nothing we cannot say: It is you who must say this,” the poem reads. “They say, We leave you our deaths: Give them their meaning: We were young, they say. We have died. Remember us."
Ellie Fishman, Chanel Karimkhani, Andrew Mayer & More From THE HELLO GIRLS Perform in the FIRST COLORS Ceremony
By BWW News Desk via the broadwayworld.com (NYC) web site/em>
The United States World War I Centennial Commission, in cooperation with the Doughboy Foundation, the National Park Service and the American Battle Monuments Commission, sponsored the FIRST COLORS Ceremony, a major event to celebrate the inaugural raising of the American flag over the nation's soon to open World War I Memorial. The live-broadcast event featured a special performance by the Off Broadway cast of THE HELLO GIRLS and took place in Washington, DC on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 a.m. EDT / 7:00 a.m. PDT.
Hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, the 90-minute program paid tribute to America's role in WWI and highlight our national unity with military fanfare, guest appearances by notable participants from across the country and musical performances including a special excerpt from the Off Broadway musical THE HELLO GIRLS.
The WWI FIRST COLORS Ceremony performance reunited members of the original Off-Broadway cast of THE HELLO GIRLS: Ellie Fishman (Finding Neverland, Miss Saigon National Tour, Goodspeed's The Music Man), Chanel Karimkhani (Bach and Bleach, The Goree All Girl String Band), Andrew Mayer (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, I Spy A Spy), Matthew McGloin (Bastard Jones, 2 Pianos, 4 Hands at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Ben Moss (Oratorio For Living Things at Ars Nova, Broadway: Head Over Heels, Amélie, Deaf West's Spring Awakening), Lili Thomas (We're Gonna [email protected], Only Human), Skyler Volpe (Sing Street at NYTW / Broadway, Barrington Stage West Side Story), and Cathryn Wake (Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812, The Other Josh Cohen). Original drummer Elena Bonomo (Broadway's Six, A Strange Loop) is joined by bass player and vocalist Nygel D. Robinson.
An ensemble of actor-musicians chronicles the story of America's first women soldiers in THE HELLO GIRLS. From New York to Paris, from ragtime to jazz, and featuring a critically-acclaimed score by Peter Mills, and book by Peter Mills and Cara Reichel, the musical tells the story of the groundbreaking women who served as the first soldiers in the U.S. Army, during World War I. These intrepid heroines served as bilingual telephone operators on the front lines, helping turn the tide of World War I. They then returned home to fight a decades-long battle for equality and recognition, paving the way for future generations.
NYC's critically-acclaimed Prospect Theater Company premiered THE HELLO GIRLS Off-Broadway at 59E59 in November of 2018. The musical was nominated for three Drama Desk Awards (Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Music), four Outer Critics Circle Awards (including Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding New Score and Outstanding Book Of A Musical, and nominations for Outstanding New Musical from the Drama League Awards and Best New Musical from the Off Broadway Alliance Awards. THE HELLO GIRLS was later featured in ASCAP's Musical Theater Week at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC (October 2019) and most recently featured in a Prospect IGNITE Series concert at Symphony Space (February 2020). THE HELLO GIRLS Original Off-Broadway Cast Recording is available at www.BroadwayRecords.com and everywhere music is sold.
Fayetteville native designs newly opened WWI memorial in Washington, D.C.
By Garrett Fergeson via the ozarksfirst.com web site (AR)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A Fayetteville man’s vision after nearly 6 years has come true to remember those who fought during the war to end all wars.
Joe Weishaar, a Fayetteville native and the lead designer of the National World War I Memorial In Washington, D.C., attended a small gathering, limited to 50 people due to the Washington COVID-19 restrictions, for the flag-raising ceremony over the WWI Memorial Friday.
“This is an incredible moment for the country, for our veterans, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Weishaar said. “After working on this project for over 6 years there were so many highs and lows and times we didn’t think we were going to get passed or if it would get built.”
The nearly 2-acre park located on Pennsylvania Avenue, about a block from the White House, honors the nearly five million Americans who fought for liberty overseas.
“From the very beginning, this became a memorial about storytelling. Both through visual narratives, to the sculpture that will soon be installed to the quotations. That’s really all we have left from the men and women who served… is their stories,” Weishaar said.
The Virginia-based 94th Fighter Squadron flew F-22 raptors over downtown as part of the opening of a newly built National World War I Memorial.
World War I occurred between July 1914 and November 11, 1918. By the end of the war, over 17 million people would be killed, including over 100,000 American troops.
The National WWI Memorial pays tribute to 4.7 million Americans who served their nation in WWI, 200,000 who were wounded and 116,516 who died. It is a memorial to all Americans who supported their troops and did so with pride, then as they do now.
Explore the memorial using WWI Memorial Apps. The “WWI Memorial Virtual Explorer” App brings the Memorial to you on your mobile device in an innovative and immersive “Virtual Field Trip” experience. The “WWI Memorial Visitor Guide” App is designed to enhance your visit to the Memorial in Washington, D.C.
After years of wrangling, WWI memorial opens in D.C.
By Jennifer Steinhauer via the StarTribune newspaper (MN) web site
WASHINGTON – Memorials to the war dead of the 20th century are among the central attractions in the nation's capital. So it has always been notable that one of the most consequential U.S. conflicts, World War I, lacked national recognition.
The design, restoration of Pershing Park and construction of the new memorial in Washington will cost $42 million.Credit...T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York TimesNow, as the United States withdraws from its longest war, a memorial that recognizes one of its most complicated ones officially opened in Washington on Friday after years of tangling among preservationists, urban planners, federal officials and the commission that realized its creation.
The first flag was raised at the memorial in Pershing Park, near the White House — rather than along the National Mall, where many supporters had envisioned — on a spot once used for ice skating, cocoa sipping and midday sandwich nibbling by hurried office workers who sat under the crepe myrtles. Fights over the memorial's location, accuracy and scale have been part of its journey.
"Our objective was to build a memorial that would stand shoulder to shoulder with other monuments and elevate World War I in the American consciousness," said Edwin Fountain, vice chairman of the World War I Centennial Commission, "at the same time recognizing that unlike those memorials, this has to be a memorial and an urban park."
The only original nod to the war in the park, a statute of Gen. John J. Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, will remain at the edge of the space. But the memorial's central focus is a large wall that will hold its final feature: a 58-foot bronze sculpture that is either a bold testament to the significance of the mission or a detraction from its natural setting, depending on the point of view.
The design, restoration of the original park and construction of the new memorial will cost $42 million. The commission has $1.4 million left to raise.
The sculpture, "A Soldier's Journey," tells the story of one American's path from reluctant service member to returned war hero through a series of scenes featuring 38 figures. They are meant to convey the story of the country's transformation from isolationist to a leader on the world stage, with a final visual reference to the next big war.