WASHINGTON—After a years-long, hard fought effort spearheaded by Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), today their bipartisan legislation to build a memorial on the National Mall honoring the veterans of the Global War on Terrorism was signed into law, guaranteeing that the memorial will soon become a reality.
Ernst, a combat veteran of the Global War on Terrorism, and Hassan, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, have worked across the aisle to garner strong support for their effort from more than 50 Democrats and Republicans in Congress, influential public figures, and the six surviving secretaries of Defense—spanning Democratic and Republican administrations. Their bill, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, which proposes three locations for the memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., was included as a part of the annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2022, and is now law.
“In the wake of 9/11, millions of Americans answered the call to keep America safe, sacrificing life and limb to protect our homeland and to fight the enemies of freedom the world over,” said Senator Joni Ernst. “The time to honor these heroes of our nation’s longest war and their families is now, and there is no more fitting of a way to do that than with a memorial on our National Mall to serve as a permanent testament of their selflessness for generations to come. Today, after a years-long effort, I can proudly say that this memorial will soon become a reality. The time has finally come – it’s a done deal!”
“Our National Mall is a representation of our country’s history – the challenges we have faced and the sacrifices we have made for freedom. To not have a memorial to the brave men and women who fought in the Global War on Terrorism is inexcusable, and an injustice to our service members and their families who have given so much,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “Today, that changes. I am so honored to have helped lead this effort with Senator Ernst and to see this bill signed into law. It is a testament to the service members and their families who, have given so much to their country, and continued to advocate for this memorial’s rightful place on our National Mall.”
The effort gained strong support from several key groups and influential public figures who weighed in on the bill finally being signed into law today:
Gold Star Wife Jane Horton said, “My heart is at peace knowing my husband and all those who have fought, bled, and died will be honored the only way fitting of their immense sacrifice: with a memorial on the National Mall.”
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation’s Chairman of the Board of Directors Ted Skokos stated, “Today we are proud to celebrate this historic legislation alongside our Global War on Terrorism veterans and families, our allies on Capitol Hill, and all Americans eager to commemorate the acts of service and sacrifice in America’s longest war. We are grateful for the extraordinary bipartisan support in Congress for our efforts, and especially the work of leaders such as Senator Ernst, Senator Hassan, Representative Crow, and Representative Gallagher, all of whom kept fighting at every turn for a Memorial on the National Mall. As we enter a new phase of the campaign to build the Memorial, we will continue to engage our many partners and supporters, and ultimately construct a place of honor that all Americans can be proud of.”
Tunnel to Towers Chairman & CEO Frank Siller said, “I am so thankful and relieved that the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act has been signed into law. The amount of support this initiative has received is so encouraging. Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs have come together to do what is right – to honor the more than 7,000 men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation over the last two decades. I hope the passing of this bill brings peace to the families these heroes left behind. Now they will have an official Memorial where they can reflect and honor the loved ones they have lost.”
American Actor Gary Sinise said, “Never Forget. With thousands of servicemembers making the ultimate sacrifice during 20 years of war post 9/11, it is our nation’s duty to remember and to honor them and the price paid by their families by dedicating a sacred space on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the Global War on Terror Memorial. I applaud the passing of H.R.4350 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022, bringing us another step closer to achieving this mission to support construction of this important monument in memory of our fallen heroes.”
Five for Fighting Singer John Ondrasik said, “I am grateful that the Global War on Terror Memorial is one giant step closer to unveiling with President Biden’s signing of the NDAA into law. At a time when many GWOT veterans, particularly Afghanistan veterans, are struggling, it is more important than ever to recognize and memorialize their sacrifice and service. Congratulations to Senator Ernst, and all who have worked tirelessly for this day since 2017.”
American Actor Milo Ventimiglia said, “We send our servicemembers to far reaches of the globe and ask them to sacrifice so much, our all-volunteer military. It’s only right we honor those that gave their lives with the placement of the Global War on Terrorism memorial on the Reserve at the National Mall. We owe them that.”
In 2017, through bipartisan legislation, Ernst helped create the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, a private foundation, to begin the process of pursuing the construction of a memorial and paving the way for today’s passage.