As war against terror continues, vets seek National Mall memorial

WASHINGTON — On this Veterans Day, tens of thousands of American war casualties don’t have a memorial honoring their service, but work is underway for a memorial for the war on terror.

“They need this sort of thing. They want this sort of thing. It’s not a lot to ask,” said Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a principal adviser to the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation.

Right now, a war has to have been concluded 10 years before a related memorial can be built on the National Mall. But, bipartisan legislation asks for an exception for the war on terror, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

“There have been about 7,000 Americans killed in action … there have been 52,000 wounded and an even larger number with PTSD,” Scruggs said. “People who are serving are really bearing the burden for society.”

Scruggs asked the American public to support the memorial effort in a New York Times Op-Ed published on Friday.

“The good news is on the fundraising: this is not a huge project, because the space available is smaller,” Scruggs said.

One element of the intended memorial design Scruggs finds fascinating is that a portion will remain incomplete as a metaphor for an endless war against terrorism.

“It’ll be a very exciting design challenge for the artists,” Scruggs said.

As for how long all this could take — Scruggs believes legislative approval could happen within a year. It might take another year for a design to be chosen. Then, after fundraising and construction, in a best-case scenario, the memorial could be dedicated within five to seven years.

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