Pershing Park, Washington: the site for America's new tribute to its soldiers of the Great War (Photo: US World War One Centennial Commission)

US launches design contest for World War l Memorial in Washington

Posted on on 09 June 2015
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A design competition has been launched for a national memorial in Washington to US troops who fought and died in the First World War.

The project is being sponsored by the World War One Centennial Commission, the body responsible for promoting America's commemorations.

It points out that 'alone among the four great wars of the 20th century, there is no national memorial to World War l' in the US capital.

Over 116,000 American troops died in the closing months of the conflict, more than fell in Korea and Vietnam combined.

The site for the National World War l Memorial lies in Pershing Park, close to the White House in Pennsylvania Avenue, where there's already a statue of General John Pershing, commander of the US forces sent to France in 1917/18.

But Edwin Fountain, Vice-Chair of the Centennial Commission, says the aim is to create a new monument that reflects the humanity of the 'everyday soldier,' avoiding triumphalism.

Launching the project in 2014, Mr Fountain said the Vietnam Veterans Memorial inaugurated in the 1980s had been a 'game changer' for subsequent monument design in Washington DC.

'Rare opportunity'

The new memorial will be dedicated on November 11th 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice ending the First World War.

Mr Fountain noted that America lost 10,000 soldiers a month in the Great War: "What people in this country don't know about World War I is what a horrific and bloody and savage war it was.

"They don't understand that American servicemen demonstrated the same valour and courage and heroism and feats of arms in World War lthat they have in every other war this country has fought."

The design competition is described as a 'rare opportunity for the public to witness - and participate in - the creation of a National Memorial in the Nation's Capital.' 

It's open to professionals, university-level students or 'any other interested participants.' 

The judges will be drawn from the government, the military, the arts and the citizens of Washington.

The deadline for competition entries is July 21st 2015. Finalists will be selected for a second round, with the winner due to be announced in January 2016.  Full details of the competition regulations can be found on the US World War One Centennial Commission website.

Information & images supplied by the United States World War One Centennial Commission

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News