Weekly Columns

It’s been more than 30 years since the United States and coalition forces helped liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion. Now, the men and women who served in uniform during Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield will soon be recognized with a national memorial honoring their selfless service and sacrifice.

Hundreds of people recently gathered in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the groundbreaking for the tribute.  

The site has national significance. In the shadows of the Lincoln Memorial, it appropriately recognizes the sacrifice of those called to serve in our nation’s uniform. The stretch of ground holds a special place in the hearts of Americans. It’s where we honor influential leaders and recognize the leaders who shaped the history of our nation and heroes who defended our ideals. 

It’s where America gathers to celebrate Independence Day, commemorate the ingenuity that has made our country great and exercise our freedoms. 

When people around the world think of our nation’s capital, they picture the landmarks spread across the backdrop of the National Mall and associate them with what the United States represents. These memorials and monuments stand as shining beacons of hope and the promise of the American dream. 

So it’s only fitting for the home of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield War Memorial to be found there as well.    

I championed this bipartisan effort with my friend from Indiana, former Senator Joe Donnelly.

In 2013, we introduced legislation to authorize a national memorial to honor the hundreds of thousands of men and women who fought to defend freedom in the Gulf War including those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

It’s been more than three decades since the war ended. The time has come to ensure we have a dedicated landmark honoring the valor and dedication of our servicemembers and their loved ones. We want these men and women to be able to have a dedicated place of honor to reflect on their mission and those they served alongside. 

I’m proud to have played a small role in helping make the memorial a reality, but the hard work was done by those whose service and sacrifice will be memorialized there for generations to come. It will stand as a symbol of reverence to and respect for the veterans and their families, and help teach future generations about this important moment in our nation’s tradition of fighting tyranny.  

It’s critical we reflect on this episode and those who willingly set out to answer this call. 

I was honored to join those who have spent years advocating for this memorial, veterans and their families to mark the occasion and acknowledge the incredible support worldwide to recognize those who served in this mission. We can be proud of the efforts of Arkansans Jeff Kurczek and Brenten Byrd who have helped pave the wave for this monument as National Desert Storm War Memorial board members.

As long as men and women fight and die on behalf of the country we love and the freedoms we espouse, they must never be forgotten or have cause to question our national gratitude. I look forward to the day the site features a completed tribute to America’s Gulf War veterans. They richly deserve it, and our unending thanks, for what they did and all they represent.