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Desert Storm memorial receives $10 million pledge from Kuwait

With plans for a memorial honoring soldiers lost in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield facing financial roadblocks for the past six years, the State of Kuwait has pledged $10 million to make this commemoration a reality.

The memorial has a planned cost of about $40 million, and current law requires that 100 percent of funding be raised prior to initial groundbreaking, according to the National Desert Storm Memorial Association.

But as the end of 2019, proponents have raised only about $9 million.

Ambassador of the State of Kuwait, H.E. Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber AlSabah, announced Kuwait’s contribution of $10 million to assist with the memorial’s funding, according to an association press release on Feb. 24, 2020.

Al-Sabah emphasized the importance of the memorial serving as a reminder to past, present and future generations of the bravery by those lost in the liberation of Kuwait.

“This lead donation by the Government of Kuwait is an important validation of the historical importance of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, and is a display of the deep, special, and lasting friendship between our two countries” said Scott Stump, the association’s CEO and president. “We are honored and humbled by this tremendous show of support.”

U.S. accepts $10 million pledge from State of Kuwait for Desert Storm Memorial in Washington, D.C.
U.S. accepts $10 million pledge from State of Kuwait for Desert Storm Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield became a historical and crucial moment for the international community, and the memorial is to serve as a reminder of the importance of this operation.

In response to Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush authorized the use of ‘all necessary means’ in fighting against Iraq in November that same year.

Desert Storm began Jan. 17, 1991. More than 500,000 American troops deployed and about 300 died.

U.S. forces were successful in pushing Iraq forces out of Kuwait, expelling them from the region, resulting in international sanctions on Iraq, and significantly weakening Iraq military forces.

But the war still lacks memorial recognition.

The conceptual design of the memorial is two curved, dune-like, granite wall forms enclosing both an inner space and water feature that commemorates the soldiers who liberated Kuwait, architect Randy Schumacher of CSO Architects told Military Times.

Located next to the Lincoln Memorial at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street in Washington D.C., the geometry of this memorial is symbolic of General Schwarzkopf’s Left Hook battle plan.

The main wall will depict elaborately carved images that honor the courage, service, and sacrifice of those who fought to liberate Kuwait.

The second wall will represent the significant shift in the relationship between the U.S. and the military post Desert Storm, Schumacher told Military Times.

“This Memorial will ensure that Americans and the rest of the world remember the important historical conflict that liberated the people of Kuwait,” CEO Scott Stump said in an email to Military Times.

“This legacy lives on today, positively impacting everyone who wears the uniform,” said Stump.

Those continuing to push for the memorial have hopes of completion by 2021, marking 30 years since the war’s end, according to News Now Omaha.

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