National monument to honor those who gave their lives in the Global War on Terrorism.
The National Infantry Museum Foundation announced a September 11, 2017, dedication of a new Global War on Terrorism monument. The national memorial will honor all who have served since September 11, 2001, and will pay personal respect to the nearly 7,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have given their lives in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Four four-star generals who were heavily involved in the early years of the war have spearheaded the project. GEN (Ret) John Abizaid, who led American military forces across most of the Middle East from 2003 to 2007, explained why the National Infantry Museum, just outside the gates of Fort Benning, is the appropriate location for this national memorial.
“Fort Benning is where we trained those whose names will be on this monument,” Abizaid said. “Fort Benning is the home of the Maneuver Force, which currently trains half of all Army Soldiers every year. It is the heart and soul of the Army. This is the perfect place for the memorial, and I am committed to making sure it adequately honors the hundreds of thousands of Soldiers who have sacrificed so much.”
The memorial will be constructed on a plaza alongside the museum’s Heritage Walk, in view of Inouye Field, where hundreds of recruits graduate from basic training every week. As the newly minted Soldiers leave the sacred soil of the parade field and march past the monument, they will symbolically take the baton of service from those that preceded them.
The memorial will consist of eight large granite panels etched on both sides with the names of more than 6,800 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice serving their country since 9/11. The panels will stand apart from each other, allowing visitors to walk among them. At the entrance will be a 7-foot tall bronze Infantryman in full battle gear standing atop a Pentagon-shaped pedestal. Framing the statue will be two pillars representing the Twin Towers that were brought down in the terrorist attacks. Suspended across the top of these pillars will be a 12-foot steel beam that was pulled from the wreckage of the South Tower and donated to the museum by New York City firefighters. The memorial will include eight additional bronze figures in patrol formation, representing an Infantry squad. Additional granite panels will carry inscriptions relating the events of 9/11 and the ensuing Global War on Terrorism.
GEN Abizaid expects the memorial to be visited by people from across the country. “I think it will have the same impact the Vietnam Wall in Washington has to those who have the chance to see it and touch it,” Abizaid said. “And it will serve as inspiration for all those young men and women who have stood up to continue the fight.”
Joining GEN Abizaid in planning the monument and raising funds for it are retired Generals George Casey, Stanley McChrystal and Charles Jacoby. All four will attend the dedication in September 2017. Additional details of the event are still being arranged.