A big step forward for an Operation Desert Storm memorial

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction from the National Park Service about the date of the meeting.

WASHINGTON – More than 600,000 military men and women were a part of Operation Desert Storm, which began in January of 1991. Close to 400 of those who served never came home.

In the nation’s capital, plans continue for a $25 million memorial to honor those who fought in the conflict, which included the liberation of Kuwait.

The National Park Service is asking the public to weigh in on two locations selected for the solemn site. The sites include the west terminus of Constitution Avenue NW near 23rd Street NW, and the Memorial Circle area of George Washington Memorial Parkway on Columbia Island.

“We really feel it is important to remember this iconic time in history,” said Scott Stump, president and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

Comments on the two potential sites for the memorial can be made at the National Park Service’s website or at a public meeting at 2020 K St. NW on Wednesday, July 12,  from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

“I encourage everyone to share their support for this memorial and what we are doing to honor the men and women who died, and all those who served,” Stump said.

The process of planning for the memorial has been going on for seven years, according to Stump.

Recently, the number of possible locations has been reduced from more than a hundred to two. Stump says many of those sites didn’t achieve the goals the organization had set in the beginning.

“We felt that it was against the whole idea of having a memorial if nobody knew where it was or if it was hard to get to,” Stump said.

After soliciting feedback from the veterans of the war and the general public, a conceptual design was created. The design takes the shape of a “left hook” military maneuver, which worked very successfully for U.S. forces during Desert Storm.

“It was a military maneuver that went deep into Iraq and enveloped the country of Kuwait as part of the liberation,” Stump said.

The walls inside the memorial will tell the story of the war and recognize those who fought in it, including those who never came home. The plans also include recognition for the 34 coalition countries that fought alongside the U.S.

“We’re delivering a very profound message, but we want to deliver it in a very simplistic manner,” Stump said.

Finally, Stump would like to see a sculpture that shows members of all branches in chemical protection suits.

“The constant threat of chemical and biological warfare is something that everybody lived with on a daily basis,” Stump said.

Stump said he hopes to see the memorial in place by 2020 or, at the latest, 2021 — a year that would mark 30 years since the war.

Also, Stump encourages people to donate to the memorial project or volunteer with National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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