Currently, veterans of the Global War on Terror do not have a memorial honoring their service, and that of the wounded or fallen. A bill passed in the House on Friday would change that.
For the memorial to be funded, planned, and built Congress needs to pass a bill that the president can sign into law. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., a Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in Iraq, is the main sponsor of a bill that begins the process.
The Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act would allow the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation to raise money, plan, and eventually build a memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. dedicated to U.S. service members in the recent conflicts.
George Chewning, legislative director for Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation and West Point graduate, said, “It [the memorial] is a place where veterans GWO can bring their kids and their grand-kids and say this is what Mom and Dad did for those years when they were gone.”
Gallagher’s bill would provide a needed exception to the 1986 Commemorative Works Act, which dictated the planning for a war memorial on the National Mall cannot begin until 10 years after the conflict ends.
“It is creating a place on the National Mall for those families to come and remember the fallen, and pay homage to the wounded, but also for the living, it is for people to come together and retain that sense of community for their families,” said Chewning, who served five years in the Army as an infantry officer, and deployed to Afghanistan in 2013.
This is the first legislative victory for Gallagher, who served in the Marine Corps as an intelligence officer and deployed to Iraq. He introduced the bill in February, shortly after taking office in January of this year.
After passing in the House, the bill now goes to the Senate.