After meetings in the Oval Office with President George W. Bush and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, the National WWI Memorial Foundation was founded on March 6, 2008, by Frank W. Buckles, the last surviving WWI veteran, and photojournalist David DeJonge.
The Foundation's objective was to construct a National WWI Memorial adjacent to the WWII Memorial on the National Mall. The Foundation's efforts led to the restoration of the Washington DC WWI Memorial on the National Mall and the passage of three laws signed by President Barack Obama.
Shockingly, the WWI Centennial Commission, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the National WWI Museum in Kansas City opposed every effort to locate a National WWI Memorial anywhere near the National Mall, and these organizations fought against this effort for ten years. DeJonge ended the effort in 2018 after a final round of discussions with the WWI Centennial Commission fell apart.
If it is ever completed, the National WWI Memorial will be located below street level in the bottom of the Pershing Park ice skating rink, a 30-minute walk from the other national war memorials that proudly stand on the National Mall.
We salute the 4,734,991 Americans who valiantly served during WWI, and we honor their legacy. Let their memories be eternal.
Frank Buckles passed away on February 27, 2010, at the age of 110,
never having seen his generation honored properly.
David DeJonge resides in Michigan with his wife and four children.
To contact David DeJonge please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To purchase or license Pershing's Last Patriot, the documentary film which tells the story of this complex effort, please click here.
© 2019 National WWI Memorial Foundation