National WWII memorial long overdue

National WWII memorial long overdue by Audrey Brevik The National World War II Memorial is a long overdue tribute to the individual Americans who helped win World War II, the largest war of all time.

The memorial will be a permanent tribute to the 16 million Americans who served in uniform, the more than 400,000 who gave their lives, and the millions more who supported the war effort from the home front.

Symbolic of the most significant turning point in American history, the memorial will be a monument to the spirit, sacrifice and commitment of the American people, to the common defense of the nation and to the broader causes of peace and freedom from tyranny throughout the world.

The impact of the World War II generation can be measured in countless ways. Seven of the last nine presidents were war time veterans, as are thousands of business leaders, members of Congress, labor leaders, teachers, doctors, factory workers, etc. Advances in science, technology, medicine and photography during World War II changed the face of the nation.

Our youth need to know the sacrifices made during that era. The memorial will inspire future generations of Americans, deepening their appreciation of what the World War II generation accomplished in securing freedom and democracy. Above all, the memorial will stand for all time as an important symbol of American unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and awesome power that can flow when a free people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just cause.

The World War II Memorial will be located on 7.4 acres on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on the Reflecting Pool, situated directly between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The memorial has been given a place of honor on one of the last great public spaces available in our Nation's Capital. It will be a place to reflect on the sacrifices made by a special generation of American's.

Primary funding for the $100 million memorial must be raised by private contributions. The total funds required include a perpetual maintenance fund, 10 percent of the construction cost, to be provided to the National Park Service, which will assume the responsibility for control and maintenance of the memorial after it is completed.

Leading the campaign are National Campaign Chairman Senator Bob Dole and Co-Chairman Frederick Smith, founder and CEO of FedX. Two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks has volunteered his time and talents as spokesman for the fund raising campaign.

Senator Tom Daschle announced that the state of South Dakota donated $68,000 to the fund which is $1 for each South Dakota soldier who served during World War II.

Approximately $200,000 of the $250,000 pledge has been donated by The American Legion Auxiliary nationwide. South Dakota Auxiliary members donated a total over $1000.

Funding for this memorial must be complete by May 2000 for this vision to become a reality.

The South Dakota American Legion Auxiliary is selling World War II pins. A hand crocheted 3.5' X 6' American Flag will be raffled off at the American Legion and Auxiliary State Convention June 11. Also available are Charter Member Enrollment forms.

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