Memorializing Endless War in DC: Is it Possible?

Photo courtesy of
‘leaving the Senate’
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’

There was a piece in the Outlook section of Sunday’s Washington Post entitled “How we memorialize endless war?” by public-monument scholar Kirk Savage. It’s an interesting read that sparks a legitimate question on this Memorial Day weekend.

In the wake of the U.S. Armed Forces catching Osama Bin Laden after a near ten year search, the American war on terror isn’t over. Our troops are still overseas and many more never made it home. And, a good amount of the men and women who did make it home are wounded soldiers in some capacity, be it mentally, emotionally or physically.

Savage’s article begs the question: “Will Washington ever memorialize the fights these men and women fought if there is no set end date to the on-going nature of the fight against terror?”

Due to The Commemorative Works Act of 1986, the act regulates that a new war memorial cannot be built until at least 10 years after the official, designated end of the conflict in question. “As long as our troops remain mired in the theater of war, however, will there be an ‘officially designated end’ to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Savage writes.

The fact is: Washington may be a standing memorial dedicated to the fight of our forefathers to conceive this great nation, however, the men and women who continue to fight daily in pursuit of freedom in the wake of severe terrorism may never have a plot of land dedicated to their hard work.

Rachel moved to DC in the fall of 2005 to study Journalism and Music at American University. When she’s not keeping up with the latest Major League Baseball news, she works on making music as an accomplished singer-songwriter and was even a featured performer/speaker at TEDxDupont Circle in 2012. Rachel has also contributed to The Washington Examiner and MASN Sports’ Nationals Buzz as a guest blogger. See why she loves DC. E-Mail:

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2 thoughts on “Memorializing Endless War in DC: Is it Possible?

  1. I hope we have something someday. There has to be some combination, because so many troops did tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe we could also memorialize the 1991 Gulf War as well? It doesn’t have to be much, and doesn’t have to be on the center of the mall. Haines Point is missing a statue at the moment, for example.

  2. As a disabled GWOT vet who lost several friends, at first I want to see something tangible acknowledging that, when called to defend our home and freedom from extremism and terror, my generation answered the call. A place to remember, to think, to meet old friends, to ensure those who were lost aren’t forgotten; something like what I see when the Vietnam and WWII vets gather around their memorials.

    But then I thought about it, and our memorial is all around us. It’s the fact that I can walk up to my Congressman, or see the documents that founded our country. It’s the fact that we are still a country of secular law, where might does not rule right. It’s the fact that the military, or the police, do not rule our nation. It’s a free press, and a vote in the ballot box. It’s the fact that someone can speak their mind without worrying that they will be taken in the night and end up losing their head.

    These are all things those who attacked us on 9-11, those who have tried since then, and those who ascribe to that ideology, wish that we didn’t have. The fact we have them is tribute enough for me.