American veterans of all stripes and affiliations came out last Thursday in a show of solidarity for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. The occasion was a special "hard hat" tour of the Memorial, currently under construction just off the national mall in Washington, D.C. With construction on-schedule, the Memorial is set for dedication on October 5, 2014.
Pictured (left to right): Arthur H. Wilson, DVLMF Board President; Marc Burgess, DAV; Garry Augustine, DAV; Tom Tarantino, IAVA; Chelsea Augustine, IAVA; Peter Gaytan, American Legion; Joseph Davis, VFW; Chad Moos, DAV; Alex Nicholson, IAVA.
For the first time, representatives from four of many veteran service organizations (VSOs) toured the site together to inspect the progress of the Memorial's construction in preparation for the Dedication Ceremony. Participating in the tour were representatives from Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) who have all been instrumental in supporting the fundraising and construction of the Memorial.
Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation (DVLMF) Board President Arthur H. Wilson and executives from Turner Construction Company conducted the tour of the Memorial, which will be the first national monument that honors both living and deceased disabled veterans. The Memorial sits on a 2.4-acre triangular site at 150 Washington Ave., SW (Washington Ave. & Second St. SW), adjacent to the U.S. Botanic Garden and within view of the U.S. Capitol.
"This site inspection tour marks a pivotal point in the journey of the Memorial," said Wilson. "These VSO leaders and the thousands of organization members they represent have been instrumental in bringing the vision of this Memorial to reality. We were honored to give them this special 'hard hat' tour of the daily evolving Memorial."
When the Dedication Ceremony takes place on October 5th, the Memorial will officially open to the American people, Wilson added. President Barack Obama, Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson, Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and actor and musician Gary Sinise, national spokesman for the Memorial, have been invited to participate in the dedication ceremony.
Tickets to the Dedication Ceremony are free and open to the public. To secure tickets, and for host hotel information and general information on the Dedication Ceremony, visit www.avdlm.org/dedication.
The design of the Memorial, by the acclaimed firm Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, envisions a hallowed place amid the bustle of the surrounding Washington streets. Vergason's design was meant expressly for its audience -- disabled veterans, their loved ones, friends and caretakers -- who will now have a place for commemoration and quiet reflection.
Through the juxtaposition of granite and glass, the design of the Memorial will convey the interplay of strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal. The focal point will be a star-shaped fountain, its surface broken only by a ceremonial flame. Water flows over the fountain's perimeter into a large triangular reflecting pool that mirrors the ever-changing sky, time of day and cycle of the seasons. Three walls of laminated glass panels with embedded text and photographs and four bronze sculptures by noted sculptor Larry Kirkland, display the universal story of disabled veterans' pride of service, trauma of injury, challenge of healing and renewal of purpose.
Major contributors to the Memorial include Disabled American Veterans (DAV); Lois Pope & The Lois Pope Life Foundation; H. Ross Perot, Sr. and the Perot Foundation; Leaders In Furthering Education, Inc. (LIFE); Leo Albert and The Leo & Anne Albert Charitable Trust; AT&T; Kirkland & Ellis, LLP; Fifth Third Bank; Ford Motor Company Fund; State of Maryland; Downey McGrath Group; the Gary Sinise Charitable Foundation; Norman & Irma Braman; Peter Peterson; TriWest Healthcare Alliance; AMVETS Charities; Conoco Philips; FedEx Services; Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Foundation; Health Net Federal Services; Military Order of Purple Heart Service Foundation, Inc.; Norton Rose Fulbright; Tiffany and Company; VFW National; and more than one million individual donors.
For more information about The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, visit www.avdlm.org.
Editor's Note: Images of the Memorial model and the construction progress are available by contacting Richard Murry at (305) 531-5720, or by downloading the images from Dropbox at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/24ku8o2vpe7x1m0/AAAuQKefzYJwdB1ajxRHkxpAa
About The Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation:
The mission of the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation is to build the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial as a symbol of honor and unity for disabled veterans from all service branches and across all conflicts and generations. The Memorial, located in Washington D.C., will serve to educate, inform and remind all Americans of the human cost of war, and the sacrifices our disabled veterans, their families, and caregivers, have made on behalf of American freedom.
About The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial:
Congress approved the Memorial and President Bill Clinton signed the federal legislation into law in October 2000. The law authorized the Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation to establish a Memorial to be dedicated to both living and deceased disabled veterans, and to raise all the funds necessary for construction, maintenance and preservation. Following an invitational design competition in 2003, the Foundation selected Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Ltd., of Alexandria, Virginia, to design the Memorial, with the graphics, text and bronze components of the Memorial created by artist Larry Kirkland in collaboration with Cloud Gehshan Associates. Washington D.C.-based architectural firm Shalom Baranes Associates is the project architect.
Anne Marie Malecha
SOURCE: Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc.