Today, the American flag was raised above the new National World War I Memorial signaling the official opening of the only memorial in our nation’s capital honoring the 4.7 million sons and daughters that served in the Great War.
The US World War I Centennial Commission, Doughboy Foundation, National Park Service, and American Battle Monuments Commission gathered in a live broadcast celebrating the heroic generation of Americans who fought, with our allies, to bring an end to one of the most consequential wars in history. The 75-minute program, hosted by award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, featured military fanfare, musical performances, and appearances from elected officials, military leaders, and the project team.
The new National World War I Memorial is in the heart of DC adjacent to President’s Park with views of the Washington Monument and the National Mall. The memorial serves as a space of commemoration and an urban park; the design harmonizes these two functions with great sensitivity, providing an expanded commemorative identity while at the same time respecting the historically significant park design and offering a variety of uses. A reflection pool and a 60-foot-long, 10-foot-high bronze figure sculpture by artist Sabin Howard titled “A Soldier’s Journey” serves as the centerpiece of the renovated 1.76-acre landscape.
“GWWO was honored to play a role in commemorating the brave Americans that served over 100 years ago” said John Gregg, AIA, VMA, LEED AP, GWWO Principal. “This memorial will join the others in DC, honoring those that fought for liberty and freedom. The war’s weight, gravity, and significance and the scale of the soldiers' sacrifices, including those of my grandfathers, and those at home are memorialized by the design. The revivified park provides a place for contemplation, reflection, and remembrance that is long overdue.”
The memorial’s design, a collaboration between Joe Weishaar and Sabin Howard, was unanimously chosen in 2016 after an open, two-stage international design competition that received over 350 entries. GWWO’s work as Architect-of-Record for the project included numerous National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) Section 106 meetings and formal presentations to the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) and National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), as well as countless meetings with agency staffs including CFA, NCPC, DC Historic Preservation Office (HPO), and the National Park Service. The results of the firm’s extensive collaboration led to the quickest approval process for a memorial project in recent history. The firm is currently working on another high-profile DC project, the restoration of the Jefferson Memorial.