A Washington, D.C., art council has selected a site near the Lincoln and Vietnam War memorials to commemorate Desert Storm, the last armed conflict America won.
The Commission of Fine Arts approved the location on the western end of the National Mall during a meeting Thursday, even though the area is getting crowded with war memorials.
Some Commission members expressed concern at a March meeting that the area around Lincoln’s massive Parthenon is becoming too crowded with with “military commemoration” rather than “maintaining its intended original use of public recreation and civic prospect.”
But the veterans spearheading the effort were pleased with both the prominent placement and relieved to have a place for the commemoration.
Scott Stump, a former Marine who served in Operation Desert Storm, told Military Times that he was “very pleased and very relieved” at the Commission’s decision.
“It’s in close proximity to the National Mall and the other memorials and commemorative works to where a person could actually access it, could walk to it, easily,” said Stump, who is the CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association.
“We felt like if you have something that’s the most beautiful memorial in the world, but it takes a lot of work for people to get there and people aren’t going to visit, then it kind of defeats our purpose,” he added.
Preliminary designs for the memorial — which will need final approval from the Commission of Fine Arts, the National Park Service and the National Capital Planning Commission — envision a raised limestone structure reminiscent of the golden spiral of the nautilus shell.
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The arcing shape recalls the “left hook” maneuver where U.S. forces were able to flank former Iraq President Saddam Hussein’s army and expel them from Kuwait.
“I hope obviously that if [future visitors] don’t know the story, that they will learn about it,” Stump told WTOP. “If they kind of remember the story, maybe it will jog their memory and remind them that this was not the 100-hour war that it’s so erroneously referred to so many times.
“This was a big deal — it affected 700,000 people, and it was also one of the most overwhelmingly successful military operations in history.”
Stump also hopes the memorial will remind people about a better time in America’s history.
“It was a remarkable time, so maybe this will give people some aspirations of hey, this was a good time in our country’s history, this was a good time in the world’s history, where everybody came together and did the right thing.
“At the end of the day, this was all about doing the right thing,” Stump told Military Times.
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