Breaking: GWOT Memorial Location Memorial Act Clears Congress

In response to Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act, Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig issued the following statement:

The Senate's passage of the NDAA this week represents much more than just our military budget; it also includes the final pieces of legislation needed to build a national memorial for the veterans and families of the Global War on Terrorism on the national mall. History is being created with this bill as the memorial will represent this country's latest generation of warfighters and its longest war - including President Biden’s son - for eternity as it honors, heals, and unites us all through their service.

The power, healing, and closure a memorial on the national mall can bring has been proven before with the building of the Vietnam Memorial and the life-changing stories that came with it.

For the past five years, the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO (UVC) has been a leading advocate of this mission, including critical legislative and strategic support from Executive Director and Global War on Terrorism Ambassador Will Attig and grassroots support from union veterans across the country.

The Global War on Terrorism Memorial is one of the first pieces of legislation I worked on when I came to D.C., and I cannot express how honored and proud I am to be part of the small group who took on this mission, not only to pass the bill, but to deliver this memorial for an entire generation of veterans,” said Will Attig, Executive Director of the Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO “This is not just for the vets I served with personally, but for all veterans and their supporters. I take immense pride in the involvement of union veterans who were instrumental in getting us to this stage. This represents much more than a law passed. This is granite. It will last for generations to come.

Since 2017 the UVC has mobilized its grassroots network of labor organizations and union veteran members who have called, written, and advocated for the legislation. Soon, their dedication will be signed into law by President Biden. 

Passage of this bill is just the first step - as there is much more to do still including funding and construction to complete - but it is a critical step forward that could not have happened without the tireless and bipartisan advocacy of so many elected officials, including Rep. Jason Crow, (D)  Rep. Mike Gallegher (R), Sen. Joni Ernst (R), and Sen.Maggie Hassan (D). The Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO is also incredibly thankful for all of the essential work done by the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation and all of the Veteran Services Organizations that have supported this mission. 

The GWOT has had an immeasurable impact on the soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, civil servants, first responders, and other civilian support personnel of the United States and their families. They are the most diverse and inclusive generation of veterans and their families in this country’s history and have continued taking up the mantle of service at home as leaders in their communities, jobs, and unions. But many also continue to struggle to find a place of peace or closure.  

Our vision is that this memorial will be more than just a place of mourning and remembrance. It will also be a place of visitation and healing, which will become an essential step for veterans and their families as they search for a path towards closure. 

It should also serve as a watchful beacon to everyone in our nation - especially current and future elected officials - to remember and carefully weigh the human, emotional, and physical costs of the decisions made in D.C. when sending people to war.