DENVER (KDVR) — Veterans of America’s longest war are now fighting a new battle for their fallen military heroes. A Colorado Congressman and a former Marine are helping to lead the charge.
The National Mall in our nation’s capital is home to the memorials for World War II and the Vietnam and Korean wars. Veterans in Colorado are pushing for it to recognize veterans of the so-called war on terror too.
“We want to combat and say that what we did, what we fought for, was not for nothing. Those lives that have been lost or have served or were injured mean something, and building this memorial would help all of us come together and know that what we did was for a purpose,” said Jennifer Dillow of Aurora, a U.S. Marine veteran.
When the nation’s longest war ended earlier this year, it left veterans like Dillow feeling conflicted.
“A bunch of mixed feelings,” Dillow said. “I’m glad that we have some of our military safe, however, a lot of us feel that the end was hard and kind of feel like a lot of people lost their lives for nothing.”
To add insult to injury, there is a push in Congress to get a global war on terror memorial built on the National Mall in Washington. But when Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa wanted to fast-track the effort to get the memorial built, the move was blocked by West Virginia Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, citing a 2003 law that prohibits construction on the mall.
Colorado Congressman and veteran Jason Crow helped introduce legislation that would allow them to build the memorial there.
“It’s not OK to wait 40, 50, 60 years to build a memorial for our war veterans when they’re not around to come and to heal. We have an opportunity to do this now,” Crow said.
Earlier this month, Dillow joined a group of other veterans to call on Congress to approve the construction. She said she will keep fighting for it as long as it takes.
“It was an amazing experience to stand on the Capitol steps and still advocate for this memorial — was huge and something that I appreciate. I don’t like the people in my face, asking me questions but when it comes to a certain cause like this, somebody needs to stand up and it needs to happen,” Dillow said.
Dillow is from Denver and now lives in Crow’s district. Despite the original rejection, she said the bipartisan support of the bill Crow is backing was encouraging.
Crow and members of the House were able to pass language to build the memorial through the National Defense Authorization Act earlier this year. Veterans are urging the Senate to include the language as the work on their latest version of the measure.