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Proposed Global War on Terror Memorial gets Fort Bragg input

Roses line the bottom of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial during the All American Week Memorial Service at the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum on Fort Bragg, N.C., May 24, 2017.

JESSICA NASSIRIANU.S. ARMY

By RACHAEL RILEY | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. | Published: February 7, 2019

(Tribune News Service) — A nonprofit organization that received congressional approval to build a Global War on Terror Memorial at the National Mall in Washington wants to raise $50 million for the project and involve Fort Bragg soldiers and families for input on the design.

The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation plans to design a monument by 2024. The monument would commemorate and honor members of the armed forces who served in support of the nation's longest war.

The foundation was begun in 2015 by like-minded veterans who decided to take on the task of building a national war memorial in Washington, said Michael "Rod" Rodriguez, president and CEO of the foundation, who has ties to Fort Bragg and retired from the Army after more than 20 years of service.

Rodriguez approached leaders of the U.S. Army Forces Command to propose that he host roundtable discussions at Fort Bragg.

"There's no greater concentration of warfighters on the planet than in Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. It is the largest military installation in the free world," he said.

The discussions have included meetings with junior enlisted soldiers and officers, senior noncommissioned officers, field grade officers and command teams.

Once approved for site selection the plan is to bring in an artist and architect, similar to the design competition process for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Rodriquez said.

With October marking 18 years since the nation has been involved in the fight against terrorists, Rodriguez said the foundation recognizes the first generation of warfighters and senior leaders are now in their 60s and 70s. The War on Terror was launched in response to the September 11, 2001,  attacks against the United States.

The intent is to construct a memorial they can see in their lifetime, he said.

"It provides a central point of healing for the nation. It honors the service and sacrifices of those who stepped up in our nation's longest conflict  – a multigenerational conflict with really no end in site," Rodriguez said.

In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the National National Global War on Terrorism War Memorial Act approved by Congress to exempt the foundation from the Commemorative Works Act of 1986.

The Commemorative Works Act states that a war had to be over for a period of 10 years for a national memorial.

"We were officially handed that mission to spearhead, lead, liaison and fundraise for the National Global War on Terror Memorial," Rodriguez said.

The foundation's tenants are to have the memorial honor the service and sacrifice of everyone who served and the families who support them, have the memorial help heal the nation, empower through education and to unite.

Rodriguez said it will not be a 9/11 memorial.

"Everyone remembers that response to 9/11 is that, as a nation, we came together. We weren't black, white, brown, green. We weren't any person of ethnicity or religion or gender. We were the American people, and that's why this memorial belongs to the American people," he said.

In 2018, the foundation brought in Alexandria, Virginia-based Winstanley Architects and Planners to assist with the project management.

The firm is involved in a 24-step process to meet local rules and regulations, said Yves Springuel, a principal for the architect and planning firm.

Part of the process includes meeting with stakeholders.

"I hold firm that some of our key stakeholders are wearing our nation's uniform right now," Rodriguez said.

Active duty soldiers are not the only ones the foundation is receiving input from, Rodriguez said.

There have been discussions in Texas and Washington  and with veterans, Gold Star families and civilians.

Rodriguez said he wants input from everyone.

Springuel said that input will help generate a program document that will be presented to regulatory agencies.

The document will describe the features of the monument and its functions, including its size and how many visitors it is expected to draw, Springuel said.

The next step is for the regulatory agencies to approve the description, followed by evaluating a site selection, approving the selection of an artist and architect then actually designing the memorial.

The firm is working with the Commission on Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission.

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