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National Desert Storm War Memorial approved concept unveiled

Desert Storm Vets Get National Memorial

The National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial will be built near the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. It is expected to be built in time for the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Gulf War battles.

The final concept for a National Desert Storm Desert Shield War Memorial has been unveiled.

The design — a stone, sand-colored sweeping left hook around an elevated pool of water — symbolizes the left hook that U.S.-led coalition forces, coming out of Saudi Arabia, used to sweep into southern Iraq and Kuwait, outflanking Iraqi troops.

Earlier designs did not include the pool of water and had a raised wall rather than one built into the ground.

The concept was approved by the Commission of Fine Arts recently and unveiled at a ceremony in Fredericksburg, Texas, at the site of one the partners of National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

Some details may change, but the basic structure and overall look of the memorial will fit into the concept that’s been approved by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

In an email to Military Times, Scott Stump, president and CEO of NDSWM Association, explained some of what happens next.

“This essentially approves the design footprint and layout. We continue to work on developing the commemorative content and details such as quotes, carvings, statues, relief, etc. to be included on the memorial. We would then go before the CFA for fineal d esign approval, projected to happen sometime next year,” Stump wrote.

Much of that will come from to be with feedback from veterans of the conflict that’s already been gathered.

“They’re input influenced the design,” said Randy Schumacher, lead designer told local news outlet Fox 7 Austin. “It influenced the left hook shape of the design. Veteran input had a lot to do with the shape that the memorial has taken.”

The final design will include “detailing quotes, fonts, images, bronze sculptures and carvings,” according to a statement provided by the association. The exact quotes and carvings were not included in the release.

At a February dedication ceremony at the future site of the memorial, next to the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. speakers linked the quick victory in the Persian Gulf War with cultural memory from the Vietnam War, which stands within sight of the newest memorial off the National Mall.

Some of those sentiments were echoed in the design unveiling on Thursday.

Map showing the future site of the National Desert Storm War Memorial, on 23rd Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW near the National Mall. (OLIN Studio/CSO Architects)
Map showing the future site of the National Desert Storm War Memorial, on 23rd Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW near the National Mall. (OLIN Studio/CSO Architects)

“The world needs to know about the victory and how the country treated veterans differently than what they treated Vietnam veterans. And Desert Storm helped that pivot to come about,” Cee Freeman, vice president, National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

The initial push for a memorial began in 2010 and enabling legislation was signed into law approving the memorial in 2014. The law authorizing it to be built near the National Mall was approved in 2017 and the site was approved in 2018.

The memorial is scheduled to be completed by Veterans Day 2021, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the war.

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