Early this afternoon, as per most Wednesdays, I sat in on the World War One Centennial Commission weekly conference call. I can tell you that many exciting things are being planned for the coming years. One initiative that is moving along quickly is the creation of a national WW1 memorial in Washington. Such projects tend to come in waves. Over the past 35+ years we have seen the creation of the Vietnam War memorial, followed by the Korean War memorial, and then the WW2 memorial.
There is currently no national monument for veterans of the First World War either on the Mall or anywhere in the District of Columbia. What many believe to be a monument to the veterans of 1917-19 is actually a site dedicated to veterans from the District of Columbia. Tourists always walked past this monument, which is happily getting more recognition due to its proximity to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. Still, there has never been a national monument for veterans of the Great War.
That brings me back to the Centennial Commission. One of the Commission’s efforts is to convert Pershing Park into a national monument. The park has a number of aesthetic and bureaucratic challenges. For one thing it falls under the jurisdiction of several different local and federal agencies. Nonetheless the project is proceeding smoothly, which is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the Centennial commissioners and staff.
Pershing Park has a lot going for it. It is on Pennsylvania Avenue not far from the White House. Look closely at the image above and you can see the Treasury Building in the background. This will be a real addition to our cultural memory within our nation’s capital. The design competition opened last week. The deadline for phase one submissions is Tuesday July 21, 2015. If you or anyone you know are interested in submitting a proposal check out the details here. You have six weeks.