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The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts approved the design for the new National World War I Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., in September.
The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission has been working on the project since 2014. That year, Congress authorized “appropriate sculptural and other commemorative elements, including landscaping, to further honor the service of members of the United States Armed Forces in World War I” to be constructed in Pershing Park.
More than 350 people entered the international competition to design the memorial. The winner was architect Joseph Weishaar featuring a monumental bronze by sculptor Sabin Howard.
The design must next be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission. Once both agencies give their approval, the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission will work with the National Park Service to finalize a construction permit so work can begin immediately.
The Memorial is being built under the Commission’s authority by nonprofit organization The Doughboy Foundation.
This is Great News
“As the lead designer for this project, I’m proud to say that after four years of tireless effort we have at last achieved final approval for the design of the memorial,” Weishaar said. “This is possibly the greatest hurdle this project has had to overcome and it is a testament to the enduring resolve that the WWI Commission and its supporters have in seeing this project through to completion. It’s been a long slough, but now it’s time to build a memorial!”
“This is a day that all who have worked hard to bring the National World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. from concept to reality are very happy to see,” Terry Hamby, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission chairman, said. “This final approval takes us a giant step toward beginning the construction of this long-overdue tribute in our nation’s capital to the 4.7 million Americans who served in America’s armed forces in World War I.”
“This moment has been a long time coming, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.”
Former Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX) said. “All the Doughboys and sailors of the Great War are gone, but now after 100 years, America will trace their long patriotic journey through this magnificent memorial. We shall remember them all, because the worst casualty of war is to be forgotten.”
A Soldier’s Journey
Howard is sculpting in clay at his New Jersey studio the memorial’s monumental bronze called “A Soldier’s Journey.” The monument will be cast in bronze in the United Kingdom. Once completed, it will be installed in the memorial park along with the existing sculpture of Gen. John J. Pershing who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces during the war.
“I am delighted beyond words to … be able to sculpt a memorial that will honor and uplift so many people across this nation,” Howard said.
The memorial also will feature extended reality elements to enhance and extend the visitor experience.
“One hundred years ago 4.7 million American families sent their sons and daughters off to a war that would change the world,” Daniel S. Dayton, the commission’s executive director, said. “Finally, with this memorial, they will be recognized in the nation’s capital.”
An animation of the memorial’s design can be viewed on the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission’s website.
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