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WASHINGTON DC – A long-awaited memorial to veterans of the Global War on Terrorism is expected to be built on the National Mall after the defense bill was passed the Senate on Wednesday.
The Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act was introduced in November 2019. It stalled until this year, when President Biden ordered the complete withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by September 1, ending the longest war in the country.
The Senate version, led by Senator Joni Ernst, was added to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). In the House, a version presented by Representatives Jason Crow, a Democrat from Colorado, and Mike Gallagher, a Republican from Wisconsin, was passed as an amendment to the NDAA in September.
âWhat we saw was an opportunity with the National Defense Authorization Act to include it in this package,â the Iowa Republican told Fox News. “It’s a great victory.”
âWe’re happy to have him on that part of the finish line,â said Ernst, who served in Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 with the Iowa National Guard. “It has yet to be promulgated by the president, but we do not anticipate any problems.”
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The bill had bipartisan support in both houses of Congress.
“With the inclusion and passage of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act in this year’s annual defense bill, we will soon see this bill become law – good news for so many servicemen and their families. families who worked hard to make this happen, “Senator Maggie Hassan, senior co-sponsor of the Senate bill, said in a statement.
“I look forward to the president signing this bipartisan bill quickly so that we can work on building this memorial on the mall,” the New Hampshire Democrat continued.
In 2017, President Trump signed the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act, which authorized the memorial on federal lands in Washington, DC, but it did not indicate a specific location.
The legislation has met resistance from the National Parks Service. The acting deputy director of planning for the park told a Senate subcommittee that the area in question, known as the âreserveâ, was a âfinished workâ.
“Congress amended the 1986 Memorial Works Act in 2003, establishing the ‘reserve’ and declaring a completed civic work of art where ‘the siting of new commemorative works is prohibited,'” official Michael said. Caldwell, in June.
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Ernst’s office told Fox News Wednesday’s bill overrides the Memorial Works Act and now requires the National Parks Service to work with the Global War on Terrorism Foundation to find a location on the National Mall.
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âMy message to these Gold Star families is this: your loved ones will not be forgotten,â Ernst said. âThere are so many families who have given so much through the selfless sacrifice of their loved ones, and this will be a place of memories for these families.
âIt will be a place of healing for every serviceman who served in the global war on terror,â she told Fox News.
Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.