Global War on Terror Memorial in the Works
- Jeremy Morrison
The next memorial currently being planned for Veteran’s Memorial Park will be different from any other featured on its grounds. While other memorials represent the country’s bygone battles, this one will stand for a conflict still ongoing. While the others honor those who have fallen, this one will also look to the future, waiting to honor those who will fall in the days to come.
The Global War on Terror Memorial is an ambitious project. Both logistically and symbolically.
And, perhaps most notably, the memorial will feature an eerie relic of history.
"Folks, when they come to the memorial, will actually be able to touch a piece of the World Trade Center that came down on 9/11,” explained Paul Entrekin, a member of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation Board.
Just recently, the park board received word the request for a piece of debris from the World Trade Centers had been granted.
"I don’t think that there’s anything like it in our close
geographical proximity,” Entrekin said.
The piece will be located nearby a large sculpture dedicated to
the Global War on Terror.
"It’s going to be a super, super interesting piece,” said artist Randy New, who is sculpting the memorial.
The work will nod to the carnage wreaked by terrorism, as well as America’s efforts to combat it. New— who has two other works featured at the park — and Entrekin have been brainstorming the concept.
"After we met two or three times it evolved into the current piece,” Entrekin said. "It all seemed to fit.”
New described the direction the concept took as "symbolic.”
"The Global War on Terror started with 9/11, with the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon,” New said. "So, I created this huge twisted I-beam, and on top is this globe and on top of that is an eagle. And the idea is, that through this twisted carnage that was created by terrorism you have the United States, represented by the eagle, protecting the globe against global terrorism. And it’s resting on a pentagon-shaped pedestal. So, you have a reference to the pentagon.”
The piece will be lit by a beam of light cast skyward.
"Sort of like they had in New York City, not near as intense, but we kind of copied that concept,” Entrekin said, referencing the temporary WTC memorial on the site of the original buildings.
In its entirety, the memorial will be roughly 22-feet high. It will take about a year to create. Below is a rendering. Click here to view the entire proposal.
"With any luck, we’ll have everything ready for a dedication next Memorial Day,” said Entrekin.
The park board member described the project’s next phase, the fundraising leg, as the "difficult part.” While the memorial’s costs are still being determined, he knows it will not be cheap, estimating it will take "a sizable chunk of change to make it happen.”
"I hope it’s going to be less than $200,000 for the whole thing,” Entrekin estimated.
Unlike the other war memorials at the park, this new installment will represent an open-ended, ongoing conflict. Its boundaries are blurred, its edges not nearly as defined as past conflicts.
Even its start date is questionable — Entrekin offers Beirut as a pre-modern-era example — but the park has chosen to allow 9/11 to stand as representative.
"Most of us would consider that to be the start of the Global War on Terror,” Entrekin said.
And if a start date is difficult to grasp, any end point to such a conflict is even more elusive.
"It is an ongoing thing,” Entrekin said. "I don’t know if there will ever be a time where we say the Global War on Terror is now over.”
To that end, this memorial will stand distinct from the others at the park in another way. Along with the World Trade Center relic and the sculpture, the new memorial will also feature a number of plaques — the plaques will honor those lost in locales such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and afford space for those lives still to be lost on fronts yet to be known.
"We’ll have room for plenty more,” Entrekin said, noting the plans for empty plaques at the memorial. "Hopefully we won’t need them, but we’ll have them.”
Throughout May, the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation is sharing a series of stories dealing with service and sacrifice. Check back to read about New’s sculptures currently gracing the memorial park, as well as his plans for the Global War on Terror Memorial sculpture. You can see more of his artwork on his Facebook page.
The Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola depends on the generosity of people like you to provide ongoing maintenance and upkeep for the grounds and the artwork. Please consider becoming a Friend of the Park by setting up a monthly donation. Thank you for your support.
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