By Jim Garamone
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, May 13, 2015 – The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission is opening a design competition for the national memorial that will be built here.
The memorial will be built in Pershing Park -- right on Pennsylvania Avenue between 14th and 15th street Northwest.
Pershing Park honors General of the Armies John J. Pershing, the commander of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.
The congressionally approved memorial will commemorate American sacrifices during what came to be called simply “the Great War.” America entered the war April 7, 1917, and fought through to the armistice Nov. 11, 1918. The U.S. military suffered 116,516 deaths during the war and 204,000 troops were wounded.
Honoring Service Members
The commission wants any memorial to highlight the contributions of the average service member who fought in that war, Commission Vice Chair Edwin L. Fountain said last year.
The design competition formally begins May 21. The competition rules will be posted at the World War I Commission’s website.
Officials have set up a two-stage competition and it is open to all. “In the first stage, participants will submit narrative and graphic descriptions of a design concept responding to the competition’s design goals,” said Chris Isleib, the commission’s spokesman.
Judges will select three to five submissions, and those entries will be further refined and developed in the second stage.
Judges will be individuals representing the worlds of government, the military, the arts and the citizens of Washington. The jurors were selected by the commission, and the commission will have final decision on the selected design, based on the recommendation of the jury, Isleib said.
The submission deadline is July 21, 2015, with the finalists announced Aug. 4, 2015. The commission expects to announce its selected design in January.
Educating People About the War
Fountain sees the memorial as an opportunity to educate Americans about the war.
“What the American people don’t understand about World War I was what a bloody, horrific and savage war that it was,” Fountain said. “They need to understand that American servicemen demonstrated the same valor and courage and heroism and feats of arms in World War I as they did in every other war this country fought in.”