Families, veterans fight to create permanent national memorial for War on Terror

Posted at 4:51 PM, Sep 22, 2017

Sixteen years after the start of the War on Terror, some veterans and their families are fighting to create a memorial to honor the thousands of servicemembers who've paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Paula Davis's only child, Justin, was killed in action in Afghanistan.

"It's been 11 years. June 25, 2006, my life changed forever," Davis says.

Justin was 19. He'd be 30 today. And he was one of nearly 7,000 American servicemembers who have laid down their lives since the United States declared the Global War on Terror in 2001.

"He died doing what he loved and I believe if he had a chance to come back and relive his life I believe he'd make the same decision, I wouldn't be able to stop him."

Paula's house is a monument to her son's service, but the closest thing she and families and friends of the fallen have to a monument like the Vietnam Wall is Arlington National Cemetery's section 60, the final resting place for many servicemembers killed in the War on Terror.

"It's really hard for some of us to go over there on Memorial Day and other times and see individual widows who are there grieving by themselves or individual families that are there grieving by themselves and there is no place for that group to really come together in a central locations like we have with the other national war memorials," says Afghanistan War veteran Andrew Brennan.

Brennan decided to do something about it, but a 1986 law stood in the way of honoring the forgotten, forever war on the National Mall.

"You had to have a 10-year standoff from the official end of hostilities to the war or conflict before Congress could consider building a memorial."

But Brennan's organization, The Global War on Terror Memorial Fund, soldiered on, pushing a bill signed by President Trump allowing the monument to move forward.

"We still have about 7 years worth of work to do, work with the federal government on site selection and design and ultimately we have to do the fundraising privately to build this."

Still, Paula Davis is happy to know she may see it in her own lifetime.

"To have a national monument, a memorial, means that it's permanent, that their sacrifices will never be forgotten."

While there's no site or design yet selected for the memorial, its final construction will reflect the unfinished nature of the war that could still very well be ongoing come 2024.