Today, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial will break ground at its planned site, on 2.4 acres near the U.S. Botanic Garden and the Capitol. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki will speak, as well as representatives of the memorial’s foundation; a representative of the AT&T Foundation, one of the memorial’s biggest supporters; and the memorial’s national spokesman, actor Gary Sinise. As Sinise puts it, “It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to recognize the sacrifices that our country’s disabled veterans have made on behalf of us all ... I am deeply moved to have been asked to participate in this highly necessary memorial.”
Until now, no national memorial has focused on disabled veterans. Congress authorized its creation and President Bill Clinton signed it into law in 2000, but public funds were precluded from being used. The Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc. had been formed in 1998 to raise funds for the memorial; the foundation handles all fundraising.
The design includes a star-shaped reflecting pool with an eternal flame inside and a nearby grove of gingko trees. The hole is ringed with two walls of marble and glass, the glass inscribed with bronze reliefs. The site is meant to engage all the senses and evoke the power of hope and the human spirit in its strength and fragility. It is dedicated to disabled veterans of all wars – both the 3,000,000 living and all those who have died.
As of the first quarter of 2010, the foundation’s fundraising goal is less than $3.5 million. Click here for more information on how to donate and get the word out about the memorial. The American Legion passed Resolution 48 at the 2009 National Convention in Louisville, supporting the creation of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.