As the U.S. nears the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, military veterans of the Global War on Terror are seeking a space on the National Mall to honor their fallen brethren.
On Memorial Day, thousands will visit Arlington National Ceremony to honor those who died fighting for the United States. For those visiting Section 60 — the area for service members killed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom — it's a reminder that some conflicts aren't quite history.
"If you want to sense the emotions in our community from 20 years of war, go there on Memorial Day and see what's on the faces of the family and friends of the fallen," said Tom Porter, an executive vice president of the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.
But a growing group of bipartisan lawmakers wants to honor veterans of the Global War on Terrorism outside of Arlington and hopes to establish a national memorial monument on the National Mall in Washington.
Currently, on the mall, there are memorials honoring those who fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Now, Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colorado and Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, are leading the effort to get a Global War on Terrorism memorial established in D.C.
"I think we've seen, decade after decade, the importance of veterans and their families, those who lost, lost loved ones and that war, the ability to come to a place, and to bring their kids and their grandkids to that place and reflect on the meaning of that experience," Crow said.
Both Crow and Gallagher are veterans of the recent wars and have introduced legislation multiple times that would establish a memorial on the mall.
"I think a memorial like this, and all the memorials on the lawn, not only provide that place that Jason talked about for veterans but serve as a reminder for all Americans about how lucky we are to be Americans but the cost that a lot of people pay in order to keep us safe and keep us free as a country," Gallagher said.
CNN reports that the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act has the bipartisan backing of 140 House members.