The new National World War I Memorial in Washington, DC
World War One Memorial Project Overview
The World War I Centennial Commission is pleased to announce the World War One Memorial Project which seeks to establish a new national World War I memorial to be located on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC. The project includes an international design competition, a fundraising campaign as the project will be funded with private not public funds, and the creation of the memorial itself.
World War I is America's forgotten war. Since 1982, we as a nation have erected memorials in the nation's capital to the veterans of the three other great wars of the twentieth century – Vietnam, Korea, and World War II. But there is no such memorial in Washington to the veterans of World War I. This is a lamentable omission, for the soldiers, sailors and marines of that war deserve no less honor than that we have accorded their successors. 116,516 American servicemen and women died during World War I, more than in Korea and Vietnam combined. After our Civil War and World War II, World War I was our country's costliest war, in terms of lives lost.
Our new national World War I memorial will have pride of place on Pennsylvania Avenue, "America's Main Street," one block from the White House and overlooking the Capitol. The memorial will serve as both a dynamic urban space and, more importantly, a fitting memorial to a generation of veterans whose service and sacrifice were no less valorous and heroic than that of the veterans of later wars – the generation that were the fathers and mothers of "the greatest generation."
The twin goals of the World War I Centennial Commission are education and commemoration – goals which go hand in hand. Over the next four years of the centennial period (2014-18) we will be educating the American people about a cataclysmic event in world history that began "the American century," a war that not only shaped the face of the world for the next century to come, but that likewise changed the face of American society. But education is inspired by commemoration, and so the goal of this design competition is to achieve a timeless memorial that will duly honor the service of America's World War I veterans, while inspiring Americans today and tomorrow to better understand this profound event in our nation's history.
Edwin L. Fountain
Vice Chair, US World War One Centennial Commission