Federal designation sought for National Veterans Memorial and Museum
The Veterans Memorial project underway Downtown would be designated as the National Veterans Memorial and Museum under legislation backed by Ohio’s entire congressional delegation, Republicans and Democrats.
Reps. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, Steve Stivers, R-Upper Arlington, and Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, and 13 other Ohio members of congress today introduced House Resolution 1900 to designate the facility at 300 W. Broad St. to “honor, connect and inspire and educate all Americans about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s more than 22 million veterans.”
The designation, if approved, would make the Columbus memorial the only one in the nation covering “the experience of veterans across all eras, conflicts and branches of the military,” the lawmakers said.
Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman plan to introduce similar legislation.
“We owe an immense amount of gratitude to our military service members and veterans who have answered the call to serve our great nation,” Tiberi said in a statement. “This museum will provide a unique opportunity for all Americans to honor the sacrifices they made to protect and support our precious freedoms.”
Stivers, a brigadier general of the Ohio National Guard and Iraq War veteran, supports the idea of educating the public about the military “while also sharing and preserving the stories of the incredible sacrifices our veterans make for our freedoms.”
“The National Veterans Memorial and Museum will serve as a permanent landmark to the selfless service of so many brave Americans and as a memorial to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Beatty said.
The $70 million Veterans Memorial project is on a seven-acre site formerly occupied old county Veterans Memorial. The new facility will have glass walls, a grove of trees, a “rooftop sanctuary” for ceremonies and events, and a museum.
Construction began in Dec. 2015 and is planned for completion in the summer of 2018. The project is funded by donations from Les and Abigail Wexner, the state, Franklin County and other foundations and corporations.
Veterans are supporting the designation.
“Individual stories and shared experiences of veterans will be the heartbeat running through each exhibit, celebrating the everyday heroes,” said Col. Tom Moe, US Air Force, retired. “We want to focus the story here about the service of veterans, whether they be from Tallahassee to Anchorage, and also be a place where vets can call a home.”
Guy V. Worley, president and CEO of the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, which is managing the project, said the museum will be “a world-class destination, featuring an iconic design and thought-provoking exhibition programs.”
This article first appeared on the Columbus Dispatch's website on April 5, 2017.