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Smithsonoan a1fac44f 5e9c 4971 b2b6 de757ebcf98dhiresproxyRendering of the National World War I Memorial's wall of remembrance, which is set to be installed in 2024 (National Park Service) 

How D.C.’s Newly Unveiled WWI Memorial Commemorates the Global Conflict 

By Livia Gershon
via the Smithsonian.com web site

 More than a century after World War I drew to a close, a long-awaited memorial commemorating the global conflict has opened to the public in the nation’s capital. As Lolita C. Baldor reports for the Associated Press (AP), the Great War is the last of the United States’ four major 20th-century wars to receive a memorial in Washington, D.C.

“The National World War I Memorial is a depiction of what happened 100 years ago, when soldiers boarded ships bound for France, determined to bring to a close what they thought would be a war to end all wars,” said Daniel Dayton, executive director of the World War I Centennial Commission, during a virtual ceremony held last Friday, per Michelle Stoddart of ABC News. “By themselves they of course couldn’t end all war, but their courage and sacrifice did indeed bring a decisive end to a conflict that had killed millions.”

Though the official opening ceremony and raising of the first flag at the site took place on Friday, Stars and Stripes’ Carlos Bongioanni points out that the central element of the memorial remains unfinished. A roughly 60-foot-long, 12-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture titled A Soldier’s Journey, the wall of remembrance is scheduled to be installed in 2024. For now, a canvas featuring sketches showing the future sculpture stands in its place.

The wall is the work of sculptor Sabin Howard. Per Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times, its 38 figures tell the story of a reluctant soldier who returns home a hero—a tableau that reflects the nation’s turn from isolationism to a position of global leadership.

“Starting from the left, the soldier takes leave from his wife and daughter, charges into combat, sees men around him killed, wounded, and gassed, and recovers from the shock to come home to his family,” notes the National Park Service (NPS) on its website.

“The National World War I Memorial is a depiction of what happened 100 years ago, when soldiers boarded ships bound for France, determined to bring to a close what they thought would be a war to end all wars,” said Daniel Dayton, executive director of the World War I Centennial Commission, during a virtual ceremony held last Friday, per Michelle Stoddart of ABC News. “By themselves they of course couldn’t end all war, but their courage and sacrifice did indeed bring a decisive end to a conflict that had killed millions.”

Though the official opening ceremony and raising of the first flag at the site took place on Friday, Stars and Stripes’ Carlos Bongioanni points out that the central element of the memorial remains unfinished. A roughly 60-foot-long, 12-foot-tall bas-relief sculpture titled A Soldier’s Journey, the wall of remembrance is scheduled to be installed in 2024. For now, a canvas featuring sketches showing the future sculpture stands in its place.

The wall is the work of sculptor Sabin Howard. Per Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times, its 38 figures tell the story of a reluctant soldier who returns home a hero—a tableau that reflects the nation’s turn from isolationism to a position of global leadership.

“Starting from the left, the soldier takes leave from his wife and daughter, charges into combat, sees men around him killed, wounded, and gassed, and recovers from the shock to come home to his family,” notes the National Park Service (NPS) on its website.

The monument is located in an area previously known as Pershing Park. Now designated as a national memorial, the space incorporates an existing statue of General John J. Pershing, who commanded the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) sent to fight on Europe’s Western Front.

In addition to the design and construction of the memorial elements, the $42 million project included the reconstruction of the park, which had fallen into disrepair. The park is also a recreational facility used by tourists and local residents.

Read the entire article on the Smithsonian.com web site.

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