INDIANAPOLIS — A memorial commemorating the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war will be built on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., thanks in part to the ongoing efforts of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., to honor the men and women who served in the conflict.
The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts last week voted 4-1 to reverse its earlier decision that the National Desert Storm War Memorial be located elsewhere in the capital city.
The commission now agrees the memorial should built on the Mall, often described as the nation's front lawn, just north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Donnelly, who co-sponsored the 2014 law authorizing the memorial, attended the commission meeting to advocate for a prominent location for the memorial, in accordance with a 2017 resolution that he again co-sponsored with U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
"Our nation's monuments share the story of our country," Donnelly said. "It can't fully be told without a National Desert Storm War Memorial."
Donnelly said the war to eject Saddam Hussein's Iraqi troops from Kuwait, and protect America's Middle East allies from Hussein's aggression, "helped create a stronger sense of pride and gratitude for all men and women who serve."
"Perhaps more importantly, the nearly 400 fallen servicemembers of this war deserve a memorial for their sacrifice, and those who fought alongside them deserve a place of remembrance and healing."
Scott Stump, an Indiana native and president of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, praised Donnelly for helping to secure an appropriate location for the memorial.
"Sen. Donnelly has been an instrumental and dogged advocate from the very beginning and through the entire process, and he shares our team's general goal of ensuring Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield veterans and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice are forever remembered."
No federal funds will be spent to build the projected $25 million memorial that's currently due to be completed in 2021, the 30th anniversary of the war.
Donations to help fund construction of the memorial can be made to the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.