WASHINGTON — A memorial honoring those who served and died during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield is one step closer to becoming a reality.
The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, which will build and maintain the memorial, has announced that the government has approved 23rd Street NW and Constitution Avenue in D.C. as the site for the memorial.
The site selection is a win for the organization, since several proposed sites were a good distance from the National Mall. The organization had pushed for this location because it is a more traveled area and because it is next to the Vietnam War Memorial.
“Really, what was most important to us was not visibility, but visit-ability,” said Scott Stump, president of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.
Stump said the selection process was down to two locations: the selected spot and another along the Potomac, known as the Belvedere. While the Belvedere location, according to Stump, offered great visibility, especially for planes arriving at Reagan National Airport, he said it isn’t as easily accessible as the selected location.
Stump said having the memorial next to the Vietnam Memorial Wall is also important because many veterans of operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield served in both conflicts.
The decision on a final location was made at a meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts in D.C. on Thursday.
The memorial itself has been designed to resemble an arc, which the organization said recalls the “left hook” maneuver that helped bring an end to the war. The intention of the structure, made of limestone, is to memorialize the 383 service members who lost their lives during the conflicts.
Stump said much of the green space in the area of the memorial will be left in place for people to enjoy and use for recreational actives, such as soccer and baseball.
“We never wanted to just plunk down and occupy a huge space, or take a big piece of green away,” Stump said.
With the site selected, the focus will now be turned toward building the memorial, which was approved by President Donald Trump in March. Stump said the site’s selection will help with fundraising, which will be built with only private funding.
“So much was riding on the site. Potential donors, they want to know where that real estate is, and I really don’t blame them,” Stump said.
So far, close to $2 million has been raised for the memorial, which has an estimated price tag of $25 million.
The goal of the organization is to have the memorial open by 2021, which would mark 30 years since the war.