Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Construction Set to Begin For Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial

Volume 26, 2012   
DOT Grant Allows Memorial Construction to Begin
We are pleased to announce that the District of Columbia has been awarded $6 million under the Public Lands Highway Discretionary (PLHD) grant program in order to make changes to city streets surrounding The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial site. The grant completes the federal funding required for the second phase and clears the way for the Memorial's construction to begin.

Arthur H. Wilson, president of Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation (DVLMF), hailed the announcement as "removing the last hurdle we needed to clear on this long road to establishing a national memorial to remember and honor all of America's disabled veterans. We are grateful for all of the support we have received on this journey and proud that one day soon, there will be a Memorial recognizing the sacrifices that the few have made to protect the many in our great nation, and throughout the world."

"The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in Congress over the years, and we particularly want to acknowledge the tremendous efforts put forth by Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee Chairman Tom Latham, and many others from both sides of the aisle in both chambers," Wilson said.

"We are also extremely grateful to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, his senior leadership team, and Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez for their personal dedication and commitment to the Memorial that resulted in this grant award," he said. "In addition, Mayor Gray and his team in the District of Columbia have committed to expediting this street work in order to prevent unnecessary delays for the Memorial's construction."

With the final financial impediment removed, and a single utility relocation issue remaining to be resolved, we are hopeful that on-site construction of the Memorial will begin next year, allowing the Memorial to be completed and dedicated in late 2014. 

2012 DAV Convention Scrapbook 

Vice President Joe Biden addresses DAV convention in Las Vegas

Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation board members Gene Murphy, Art Wilson and Dennis Joyner at the Memorial booth

DAV held its 91st National Convention earlier this month in Las Vegas, and we were there! At our booth we passed out t-shirts, coffee mugs, and our Annual Report. Thanks to all who volunteered, including Dennis Joyner, Art Wilson and Gene Murphy.

One highlight for the 4,000 attendees was an address by Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., who discussed key policies affecting the veteran community.

J.R. Martinez, whose remarkable accomplishments in service to veterans inspired the nation and advanced the causes of America's veterans, was awarded DAV's Outstanding Disabled Veteran of the Year Award. Our Memorial spokesperson, Gary Sinise, received special recognition for speaking out on issues affecting veterans and military men and women.

In his remarks, Vice President Biden mentioned the recent DOT grant and how it impacts the Memorial.

He concluded his speech by saying:

"… the contributions of each -- each of you have made to our nation is going to outlive us all. You've propelled America to heights our predecessors could not have even imagined. You've preserved our cherished liberties… your blood runs deep in the veins of your kids and your grandkids and your great grandkids. So to ensure all this, we have to just make sure we remember -- we remember -- all the time the sacrifice you made."

We invite you to browse through DAV photos of the convention.

Behind the Scenes at the Memorial


Liberating the Voices of Disabled Veterans

Cloud Gehshan Associates

From the Revolutionary War to the present day, disabled American veterans have told powerful stories about their experiences. Now, the most appropriate quotations and illustrations form the emotionally moving interpretive framework for The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial.

"We were brought on to the project team to develop the interpretive approach and help shape the content for the Memorial," said Jerome Cloud, principal in charge of design for Cloud Gehshan Associates in Philadelphia. "Our goal was to determine how best to tell the veterans' stories in a meaningful way."

Cloud said he and his team were inspired by The Price of Their Blood: Profiles in Spirit, by authors Jesse Bown and Daniel Paisner. "Our job was to bring the original idea to life and give form and meaning to the Memorial," he said.

The first step in the process involved researching disabled veterans' stories, a process conducted by History Associates of Rockville, MD. "Our goal was to identify the range and diversity of experiences of men and women of different ranks, across all service branches and military conflicts," he said. "While there were relatively few quotations from the Revolutionary War, the volume grew steadily from the Civil War to the present day."

Next, the team created a quotation matrix, similar to a spreadsheet, to categorize about 700 of the most moving stories and ensure a wide diversity of voices. "While every disabled veteran has a unique experience, we felt the best approach was to focus on four common stages of their journeys," Cloud said. To quote Rick Fenstermacher, Foundation Chief Operating Officer: "We wanted all disabled veterans to be able to see themselves reflected in the Memorial." 

Therefore, the team looked for quotes about what inspired these soldiers to serve their country, about the trauma of injury, the challenge of healing, and the discovery of new purpose in veterans' lives. The final quotations were selected for their universal resonance and timelessness and could represent any war.   

Through a multi-stage review process, the original selection of quotations was trimmed to the final group of 18. They will be etched onto the 48 glass panels alongside photographic images, and four bronze sculptured silhouettes created by Larry Kirkland. "We selected the Palatino typeface for the quotations because it strikes the right balance of classic proportion, readability and strength," Cloud said. "We used the classic and timeless Trajan capital letters for the large quotations etched into the front, forward surface."  

The images and quotations embedded in the glass will be illuminated by the light passing through the bronze cutouts and lit up at night, animating and bringing the glass panels to life, said Cloud. "We wanted to create an interaction and a dialogue between all the elements. For example, one of the cutout silhouettes is an image of a soldier with a crutch, who appears to be standing in front of an image of Arlington Cemetery that is actually a projection from behind. The juxtaposition of images is a powerful and moving reminder of loss and sacrifice."  

Cloud added that lead landscape architect Michael Vergason's decision to choose glass for the three interpretive walls of the Memorial was an inspired one. "Glass is a material of disclosure and transparency," he said. "It liberates and illuminates the imagery and veterans' voices in a way that carving them into stone would not have done."  

Cloud's firm also designed the type treatment for the Memorial name, including the V-cut quotations from George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower to be carved into the granite walls that flank one edge of the site. "We have worked on a number of history, memorial and donor recognition projects," Cloud said. "Yet there is nothing in our experience that has been as deeply moving and as rewarding as working on this Memorial over these last several years."



Preparing the Etched Glass Panels

Savoy Studios

One of the most challenging aspects of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is preparing the 48 laminated glass panels that will display the soldiers' stories. The quotations and photographs are being etched into oversize panels, which will form three walls at the site. 

"It is a privilege for us to work with this extraordinary design concept," says Dan Legree, owner, Savoy Studios in Portland, Oregon. A world leader in glass design and fabrication, Savoy Studios is managing the complex panel fabrication process. "Producing the panels involves a number of different steps. Some need to be done by hand, while others require the precision of a computer-controlled robot. That's why it takes a week or two to fabricate each panel."   

Drawing on more than 40 years of experience, Savoy Studios began work on the panels this summer. Legree's son Keir is project manager and son Dana is cutting the panels, which have five layers of glass, are four inches thick and weigh approximately 1,700 pounds each.     

"Having five sheets of glass is important to give each panel the proper scale," says Keir Legree. "It's also well-engineered for wind resistance. Each panel has to be able to withstand hurricane-force winds without bending, breaking or leaning. Most importantly, the large panels provide a suitable monumental artistic effect for the memorial." 

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries provided the sheets of 3/4 inch-thick Starphire® glass, which is also used in the Apache helicopter, B-2 bomber and a new mine-resistant personnel vehicle. Now, the Savoy Studios' team is laminating those sheets after etching the quotations and illustrations on the inside and outside faces of the glass panels.  

First, the team completes the etchings that will be inside the panel and apply a chemical to be sure the words and artwork will be visible after lamination. Several of the panels have exterior etchings that require protection from fingerprints, scratches or other damage. "Ensuring the readability of the etchings was one of the biggest challenges for this unique project," says Keir Legree.   

The next step is laminating the five separate sheets of glass to create an entire panel. With this process – which is done by hand – a liquid polymer called GlassLam is poured between the separate sheets of glass to fill in the empty spaces left by the etching. Then, the chemical hardens into a solid, unbreakable bond.       

Once the lamination has been completed, Dana Legree uses a computer-controlled waterjet to trim each panel to its finished 48- x 106-inch size. That requires a careful placement of each panel into a holding device to ensure that the edges are precisely aligned vertically and horizontally. After the trimming is completed, the edges of the glass panels are rounded and polished to ensure a smooth finish that visitors can easily touch.

"Contributing to The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is quite an honor," says Legree, noting that his father, Thomas Henry Legree, served with the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. "Our soldiers are still serving, still fighting and still getting wounded. Having a place to go that recognizes their commitment and sacrifice is a very meaningful thing. This memorial has been needed for a long time and we feel privileged to be part of it."




Visit our Wikipedia Page

Become a Memorial Ambassador

View the Virtual Memorial

Read About Our Groundbreaking

Pay tribute with the 2010 American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar  



Keep this information handy: The Veterans Crisis Hotline is an indispensible resource for veterans who need a helping hand.

Veterans and their loved ones can call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline at  1-800-273-8255  (Press 1), chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net or send a confidential text message to 838255. 



We are honored to have actor, director and musician Gary Sinise as the national spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Gary has been traveling the country, supporting the Memorial's  cause at events and conferences from coast to coast.   (more)




This commemorative coin is  now available directly from the Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation!  Proceeds from every coin purchased help fund The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington D.C.

With thousands of disabled veterans returning from current conflicts, now is the time to purchase the American Veterans Disabled for Life Silver Dollar to show your gratitude and support for our disabled veterans. At the same time, you'll be adding a family keepsake that will be enjoyed and revered for generations to come.

Order yours today.



Memorial and tribute cards in honor or memory of a loved one are available online and donations are tax-deductible. Choose from nine designs, all with the option of adding a custom message. 



 We update our Facebook and Twitter accounts daily.  Be in the know about the latest happenings with the Memorial and current news impacting America's disabled veterans.  Join us on Twitter and Facebook 




The mission of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is to celebrate those men and women who may be broken in body—but never in spirit. Transcending conflicts, service branches and generations, the Memorial will express America's lasting gratitude to the men and women whose lives were forever changed in service to our country. As these veterans face a life for which no one can prepare, so must their families and friends. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial will also honor veterans' loved ones and caregivers – individuals whose heroic devotion is a source of strength for those striving to heal.

Mailing Address:
Disabled Veterans' LIFE Memorial Foundation
6274 Linton Blvd.
Ste 105
Delray Beach, FL 33484

Contact Name: Information
Telephone Number:  (800) 331-7590 

Sean P Eagan

American Cold War Veterans  Inc  Image


Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans
Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
716 720-4000