CFA approves design concept for National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in DC
By Chris Isleib
Director of Public Affairs, U.S. World War One Centennial Commission
On May 18, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission’s design concept for a national World War I Memorial in the nation’s capital.
The presentation was a significant milestone in the progress toward building the memorial, on a site authorized by Congress in 2014. CFA is one of the two federal agencies with responsibility for design approval of memorials in Washington, D.C., along with the National Capital Planning Commission.
Edwin L. Fountain, Vice Chair of the World War I Centennial Commission, said: "The concept for a national World War I memorial in Washington has been in the making for nine years. We are pleased the CFA endorsed our proposal to honor the service of 4.7 million Americans who served in World War I, and the sacrifice of the 116,516 who gave their lives. We look forward to working with the CFA, the public, and other stakeholders as we continue to develop the final design."
The memorial will be located on Pennsylvania Avenue at Pershing Park, a 2-acre site one block from the White House. The park currently features a statue honoring General John Pershing, the commander of American forces in World War I, and a pool of water set in a modernist landscape design by M. Paul Friedberg. The new memorial – developed by the design team of Joseph Weishaar, who won the design competition for the memorial project, along with John Gregg (GWWO Architecture), and Phoebe Lickwar (Forge Landscape) – will consist primarily of a 65-foot long bronze bas-relief sculpture by acclaimed American sculptor Sabin Howard that will be located along the western edge of the water feature, along with additional commemorative elements in the park.
Executive Director for the Centennial Commission, Daniel Dayton, said "This decision shows great support for our efforts to build a national memorial to the American veterans of World War I."
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is a federal agency chartered by Congress in 2013 to commemorate American participation in World War I, which it does through public outreach, education programs, and commemorative events. The Commission receives no federal funding and is supported entirely by private donations. The Commission’s Founding Sponsor is the Pritzker Military Museum and Library in Chicago, IL.