DOINews: NPS: Disabled Veterans Memorial Dedicated on National Mall

Last edited 09/05/2019

Secretary Sally Jewell speaking from behind a lectern at the memorial.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell speaks at the memorial's dedication on Oct. 5, 2014. Photo by Tami Heilemann, DOI.

President Barack Obama joined Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Bob McDonald in dedicating the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial on Sunday, Oct. 5.

The memorial, which honors veterans of all wars and from all branches of the service, will be administered by the National Park Service as part of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

Actor Gary Sinise, an ardent supporter of America's veterans who received an Oscar nomination for his role as disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," also spoke at the dedication.

In his remarks, Obama described what the new memorial means to the nation's veterans, saying “With this memorial we commemorate, for the first time, the two battles our disabled veterans have fought — the battle over there, and the battle here at home — your battle to recover, which at times can be even harder, and certainly as long.”

Jewell recognized National Mall and Memorial Parks volunteer coordinator James Pearce, a combat veteran injured by a suicide bomber while serving in Afghanistan.

“Like many wounded veterans, James has chosen to continue to serve his country as a public servant; he now has the solemn honor to be one of the caretakers of his powerful memorial,” Jewell said. “His story is one that is echoed throughout the walls of this beautiful space: stories of bravery; stories of injuries sustained; stories of hope and healing; stories about the rediscovery of purpose.”

Through a juxtaposition of granite, glass, water, and a commemorative flame, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial conveys a combination of strength and vulnerability, of loss and renewal. It shines a light on the important lessons of courage, sacrifice, tenacity, loyalty and honor by bearing witness to the experiences of war heroes who were disabled as a result of military service. It is the first national memorial dedicated solely to disabled veterans, paying tribute to more than 4 million veterans from all conflicts and all branches of service seriously wounded in the line of duty.

The new memorial is open to the public daily and is free of charge. National Park Service rangers will provide tours of the memorial every Saturday and Sunday through Nov. 10, as well as on Veterans Day, Tuesday, Nov. 11.

For additional information about the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, visit

For more photos of the ceremony, click here.

For Jewell's remarks, as prepared for delivery, click here.

This story by Mike Litterst, NPS, appeared in the Oct. 8, 2014, edition of InsideNPS and The Morning Report.

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