Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bill Introduced to Create National Desert Storm War Memorial

The legislation to create the National Desert Storm War Memorial is authored by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.). This article is from Long overdue memorial for Gulf War veterans Jun 8, 2012 10:17 p.m. It has been more than 21 years since the end of the first Gulf War. And some say it is long overdue for a permanent landmark in our nation's capital. That effort took a big step forward on Thursday with the filing of a bill in the US Congress to commemorate Americans who served and died back in 1991. "It's HR 5914, which is going to create a national Desert Storm/Desert Shield war memorial in Washington D.C.," said Scott Stump, the president of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. Today, we remember Desert Storm as a 100-hour ground conflict with minimal casualties. That's if we remember it, at all. But at the time, there were real fears Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard would put up a fierce fight, perhaps with chemical weaponry. "There were thousands upon thousands of body bags up at Dover Air Force Base waiting to be filled," recalled Stump, who logged 5 months in a Marine Corps infantry unit during the conflict. "Everybody was on high alert. We were really expecting the worst case scenario, or we were prepared for the worst case scenario." It was a scenario that never materialized. With the US in the lead, the Coalition victory was quick and decisive. "Fortunately, not many were killed," said Rice University political science professor Ric Stoll. "But some people made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States and I think it's perfectly appropriate that we should commemorate that." In Stoll's opinion, Coalition casualties should not be the sole metric in assessing the first Gulf War and whether it is deserving of a permanent memorial. After all, there were lingering costs. "Gulf War Syndrome," for example, affected more than 30 percent of the almost 700,000 US troops, to varying degrees. "A lot of people were hurt by that war," explained Stoll, "even if they weren't wounded in battle, even if they weren't killed." And don't forget, says Stump: Desert Storm helped wipe away America's lingering military insecurities, after Vietnam. "Something (is) Washington as a lasting reminder of what was accomplished way back when," he said. FOX 26 News was unsuccessful in getting reaction on Friday from former President George H.W. Bush, who prosecuted the first Gulf War. But Scott Stump believes the bill establishing a Desert Storm war memorial should be an easy sell in Congress, since it would be funded entirely by donations and not tax dollars. For more information on the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, click here:

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