WASHINGTON (WDVM) — Pershing Park is now the memorial site of World War I.
The memorial site lays on now-former Pershing Park, which is near the White House on Pennsylvania Ave. The Pershing Park was opened in 1981, named after the Army General John Pershing who fought in World War I, but the park had been recreational use only for the district residents.
The World War I Centennial Commission, which was established by the Obama administration after Congress passed the “World War I Centennial Commission Act,” established a new memorial in the nation’s capital after the administration signed legislation in December 2014.
A few months later in May 2015, the Commission launched an open, two-stage international design competition to redevelop Pershing Park as a World War I memorial. The Commission was looking for a design of a memorial that would “take its rightful place next to the National Memorials to the other wars of the 20th century.”
“The Commission sought a memorial that would convey the significance of World War I in national and world history, as well as the character of American service in the war and the scale of American sacrifice,” stated on its website. According to the Commission, more than 350 entries received and five were chosen to advance to a second stage by an independent jury of experts. In January of 2016, the commission chose the design concept submitted by architect Joseph Weishaar, and sculptor Sabin Howard.
Construction of the World War I Memorial began on December 19, 2019.
On April 16, 2021, the WWICC, in partnership with the National Park Service, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the Doughboy Foundation, raised the flag of the United States of America over the new National World War I Memorial.
The new memorial site, which includes a scrim pool, a 58-foot, 38-figure wall called “A soldier’s journey,” a peace fountain behind the wall, Belvedere, Flagstaff, Pershing Memorial to pay tribute to 4.7 million Americans who served, including those about 116 thousand who never made it home.
“100 years ago America rallied to the cause of the Great War but until today, none of those Heroes who fought and died have had a place of recognition. Among The Monuments and memorials here in our nation’s capital and now they’ve returned home here to their final destination where they’ll take their rightful place flying high in perpetuity right here above. New National World War One Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” Daniel Dayton, the executive director of the commission said on the live event.
The sculpture of the 58-foot, 38-figure wall called “A Soldier’s Journey” is still being crafted by sculptor Sabin Howard and it is scheduled to be delivered in 2024. But the memorial site is scheduled to open on Saturday.