‘It’s high time the 383 people who didn’t come back got recognized:’ Veterans celebrate ground-breaking of Desert Storm memorial in Washington

The plan was approved under President Obama, the plot was chosen by President Trump, and the construction will happen under President Biden.
Veterans celebrate ground-breaking of Desert Storm memorial in Washington
Veterans celebrate ground-breaking of Desert Storm memorial in Washington
Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 3:59 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Veterans who have been fighting 32 years to erect a national monument in Washington in recognition of the First Gulf War will soon have their wish.

On Thursday, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in the northwest part of the city. The vacant lot that sits a stones throw from the Lincoln Memorial will be transformed in three years to commemorate those who fought and died in Operation Desert storm and Desert Shield. The $40 million memorial will be one of 18 military statues on the National Mall.

Senator John Boozman, R-AR, was an integral part of getting approval for the monument. Boozman said the location was selected from several possible plots along the mall.

“When people around the world think of our nation’s capital, they picture the landmarks spread across this backdrop and associate them with all that the United States represents” said Boozman.

Retired Airforce Master Sergeant Jim Ayers is just happy the day has finally come.

Ayers said, “We were there, some of the first ones in we landed on my 29th birthday, October 10th. 1990. We got there for Desert Shield. We stayed for the duration and 32 years. And I’ll tell you, it’s high time that the 383 people that didn’t come back got recognized for their selflessness, that they demonstrated out there the lasting legacy for generations to come of what we did.”

Ayers added he is proud to be a part of this legacy and this chapter in American history.

“There’ll be an opportunity on a spring Saturday morning. I’ll be able bring my granddaughter out here and walk her through she’s eight years old and have her understand what her grandfather did. And that’s that’s pretty special. I’m looking forward to that day,” said Ayers.

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