WWI Memorial one step closer to becoming a reality

Lauren Warner
November 09, 2018 - 12:54 pm

Photo courtesy of Lauren Warner

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The WWI Centennial Commission kicked off Veterans Day Weekend with a wreath-laying at the future site of the WWI Memorial.

Photo courtesy of Lauren Warner

Though D.C. is home to a small District memorial for WWI- in the form of a marble monument tucked alongside the National Mall- the call for a national memorial has been heard. With the groundbreaking ceremony behind them and installation plans in place, the WWI Centennial Commission developed a way to honor Armistice and draw attention to the future home of the memorial.

Pershing Park has been transformed for the weekend, featuring a miniature first look at the soldier's journey in hopes of inspiring continued support and donations to ensure the memorial construction continues on time. (The World War One Centennial Commission was authorized in 2014 with the stipulation that the memorial was to be created without taxpayer funding, so the success of the memorial's creation is dependent upon donations.)

"The work of the World War One Centennial Commission is fundamentally important," said Ely Ross, Director of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs. "This memorial will finally and properly enshrine the service of our WWI vets for America's future generations so that they can learn from the legacy of the men and women who served 100 years ago."

Photo courtesy of Lauren Warner

The first of a full schedule of World War One-centric events, the wreath-laying recognized both the Armistice and the countless sacrifices of American soldiers during The Great War. Gathering for the tribute to all fifty states and territories were representatives from each state, members of the WWI Centennial Commission, representatives from the D.C. Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs, D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson, and U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie. 

"When I was asked to come here and talk, I wanted to focus about the ordinary Americans, who were called upon to do extraordinary things and allow the U.S. to erupt on the world stage," said Robert Wilkie, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "Let this monument remind us of that long ago generation, by reminding us of their courage and sacrifice and their common bond as citizens of the greatest republic." 

"World War One is definitely a story that has not been told properly. You walk the mall and you see all these other monuments and memorials and you say to yourself, wait a second, where's WWI?" states Jonathan Elias, D.C.'s WJLA-TV Primary Evening Anchor. "Well, it's coming, its been a long time coming but it is finally coming." 

 

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