Fundraiser for first Gulf War memorial in U.S. launched
Desert Storm/Desert Shield is the largest American war of the 20th Century without a memorial
A fundraiser is undergoing to build the first Gulf War memorial in Washington commemorating the fallen 379 American and allied soldiers who were part of the U.S.-led coalition that liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation, the head of the initiative recently told Al Arabiya News.
“Since the beginning of the year, we’ve been working with the national parks service to identity the most suitable and appropriate locations for the memorial and that’s where we are at,” Scott Stump, who is head of the National Desert Storm Memorial Foundation (NDSVWM), said as the 25th anniversary of the Gulf War approaches.
Stump has 12 months to raise $25 million in funds in order to build the Gulf War memorial, considered to be the largest war of the 20th Century left without a monument.
The run-up to the Gulf War began on Aug. 2, 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait. On Aug. 7, U.S. forces were deployed to Saudi Arabia, launching Operation Desert Shield – the largest U.S. military overseas deployment since Vietnam.
After Iraq failed to comply with multiple U.N. mandates to withdraw from Kuwait, Operation Desert Storm – the Gulf War – began on Jan. 17, 1991 with 34 nations standing in coalition with the United States to liberate Kuwait.
Stump, who was a 24-year-old Lance Corporal at the U.S. Marine Corp in the Gulf at the time of war, came up with the idea for the memorial after he realized that not many people, especially “younger folks are not aware of what Desert Storm was.”
“People need to know the importance of the sacrifice these soldiers made,” he said. “A lot of times during veteran days’ programs as well as memorial days, people start naming conflicts the United States has been involved in and they forget Operation Desert Storm.”
The veteran also stressed the United States “liberated a country,” and “this was too important for the world to forget and leave it as a footnote in history.”
“I had a group of Kuwaiti youth who approached me in Washington three years ago at a memorial parade. They came up to me, saying ‘thank you… thank you very for much, if it was not for you Americans, we would be Iraqis,’” he said.
More than half a million American servicemen and women served in the conflict.