This Veterans Day, two post-9/11 veterans-turned congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation to have a memorial commemorating the Global War on Terrorism built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.) introduced the bill, which calls for creation of a memorial in the Reserve of the National Mall — the same area where veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam are honored.
A map of the proposed locations for the Global War on Terror Memorial.(U.S. Congress)
"The National Mall honors some of the greatest individuals in our country's history, from George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, to those who served in the wars of the 20th century," Gallagher told Task & Purpose. "It tells the story of our nation's heroes, and just like the veterans of major wars before them, I can think of no place more fitting than the Mall to honor veterans from the Global War on Terror."
When asked why the memorial should be built while the war on terrorism is still raging, Gallagher told Task & Purpose that "the Global War on Terrorism is now old enough to vote, and unfortunately, terrorism does not appear to be going anywhere soon."
"Without action, generations of warriors may never see their service, or the service their fallen brothers and sisters memorialized in our nation's capital," said Gallagher, who served seven years in the Marines as a counterintelligence officer, and deployed twice to Anbar Province, Iraq. "We must ensure those who served, and those who continue to serve, in the worldwide fight against terrorism are rightfully honored."
Assuming the bill passes, the memorial would be built by the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, with an expected completion date of 2024.
"The Global War on Terrorism changed the course of American history and the lives of the millions of service members, first responders, and civil servants who stepped up to serve our country," Crow said in a statement.
A former U.S. Army Ranger, Crow served with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq, and did two tours in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment.
"The sacrifices of this generation are all too often forgotten amidst the political debates of our time. " Crow said. "It is our hope that by honoring the service and sacrifices of this generation in our nation's capital, we give our service men and women the honor they are due."