tv World War I Memorial Design Announcement CSPAN January 31, 2016 5:05pm-6:01pm EST
campaign 2016 is taking you on the road to the white house for the iowa caucuses. monday, february 1 live coverage begins on c-span and c-span2. we will bring you live pre-caucus coverage, taking your phone calls, tweets, and texts. we will then take it to a democratic and republican caucus. to stay with c-span and join in on the conversation. act of congress created the united states world war i centennial commission, one of several directives for the 12 member commission was to create a national world war i memorial in washington, d up next, commissioned representatives announce the winning design and explain the process that led to the decision. this national press club event is almost an hour.
>> good afternoon, everyone. my name is libby o'connell and i am proud to serve on the centennial commission. yesterday marked the 240th anniversary of this nation's first military memorial. on january 25, 1776, the confidential congress approved the nations first military memorial which celebrates brigadier montgomery. since 1776, communities across the united states have built solemn poignant tributes to our solar's and sailors, marines and airmen, nurses and all the people helping back home. it's rumored that without a supportive and helpful homefront, no military campaign succeeds. as we gather for this announcement, it is important to note that we are all in debt to
each and every one of them. for too long, one specific war has been left out of our national consciousness. today, we take a great step forward in righting that wrong. today, we announce what team will be chosen to move forward and work with all our stakeholders to join the national world war i memorial in hersheypark. some of our friends in congress who have been tireless in shepherding our cause. i also want to recognize some key partner, the world war i museum in kansas city and a founding sponsor of the museum and library in chicago.
they have been indispensable and we look forward to the next years with those two inspiring institutions. i just want to mention the military museum and library has been very important by providing matching funds for us. and retired general barry mccaffrey has been such a strong supporter of us, but he cannot support us due to a death in the family. now, why this? why us? why a memorial? some of our speakers will answer those questions better than i, but allow me to hit the high notes. on the domestic front, much of how this country is organized socially, politically, and economically is due to world war i. most of the 20th century's seismic social changes, from the
suffragists to incredible innovations in medicine, technology, manufacturing, and more -- all of that is also due to world war i. it is not until world war i that the united states started to see it self is a positive agent of change in the world. watch any new show and within minutes you can find a story that can be traced directly back to world war i. i'm talking about today's top hotspots. the modern boundaries of the middle east, many of which are the source of so much suffering and violence. these are products of the great war. to be more specific, iraq and syria are products of the war. the pico line is still debated.
most people here do not know what that is, but let me tell you they remember. they remember in the middle east what that line is. the news we see on the ukraine stems from world war i. too few americans know. people should know and celebrate 198,000 texans who served in world war i. the 400,000 new yorkers. the 320,000 pennsylvanians. the 200,000 ohioans. such exemplary service and little tribute paid here in the nation's capital. many of our commissioners are veterans. one of them phrases it like this, how can we turn to a young
person thinking of joining the military and be honest in telling him or her that their service will always be remembered? when we have a whole generation who suffered worse casualties than vietnam and the korean war combined, yet, they have no representation among the great icons of our nation's capital. if we come together and coordinate a sustained national tribute to those who served in world war i by building this memorial and restoring world war i memorials across the country, then we can turn to that country and be honest in telling them that their service matters. that it will always be remembered. on the eve of this centennial, we must embrace this moment to recognize the world war i generation. all of us can restore their
legacy and install them in places of honor that are rightfully theirs. alongside those who served in the 20th century's other great conflicts. this is why we are here today and so thrilled that so many of you could join us. to speak further, please join me in welcoming sandra pershing, who serves as one of our senior advisers. ladies and gentlemen, sandy pershing. ms. pershing: hi, i am very honored to be here with all of you today. it is very important for me and my family, as well as our country, as we start to work together to honor the almost 5
billion americans who served during world war i. when my husband, jack pershing, was alive, he felt strongly that there should have been a memorial for all who served in every capacity. the general had a nice park, but he was all by himself. nobody ever memorialized the people who fought so hard and many who were dead and maimed. today, we are going to start to restore the honor that has been so long in coming. my husband's grandfather was a very special man. his career spanned from cuba to the philippines to the border skirmishes with pancho villa and he was cited for bravery and
gallantry. there were many generals who could've been tapped for the assignments that he had. but presidents like teddy roosevelt and woodrow wilson, two presidents coming from different parties, felt that pershing was the man. his leadership in europe broke open a deadly stalemate. having come up through the ranks as he did, he was a soldier's general. he believed the generals got too much of the attention, both during and after wars, and it was always at the expense of the infantrymen or the navy or the marines. i'm thrilled that the design chosen will depict people from all walks of life.
the tree required something from everyone and our modern america needs to learn how broad and diverse our nation's involvement in the war was. general pershing valued deeply the service of all african-americans, women, and countless immigrants who wore the country's uniform. the volunteer ambulance drivers, the support staff, the nurses -- i'm sorry my voice is gone. the same sense of service and national pride needs to be brought to bear. i thank you all for listening to me and i'm going to introduce congressman emanuel cleaver.
[applause] rep. cleaver: good afternoon. just before i became mayor of kansas city, i did a survey of things around our community that i thought needed to be addressed. one of them was the liberty memorial which i had read about and had conversations about. not because it was known at the time in the 1990's as some majestic memorial but because of what had happened around it. it had become a crime infested area and had a number of murders committed on the grounds. my first act on the morning of
having been elected mayor was to appoint a man by the name of bobby gates. i pointed to him and said to him, i want the flames restored on the liberty memorial. flame sounds better and we use that for tourists. so it was the first accomplishment as mayor. but it did little to restore the liberty memorial which was in decay. then there was this onslaught of harsh criticism of me and ollie gates by african-american
leaders in the community. they were very angry over the fact that african-american men had been excluded from battles in world war i, because it was the belief that they were cowards and did not possess the skills to fight. the things that you heard or read about. so with all of that pressure on us, we decided to push on for a number of reasons. one, i think it is important for us to have monuments and memorials that people will never forget, not only the history of that war but the hell of that war. it is something that we need to have that presents respect and remembrance. that is exactly where i continued to move. having had the opportunity to travel abroad, particularly in the middle east area, i have
become somewhat of architecturally sensitive. and realized that architecture spoke to the people of that era. it said something about them and it preserved something about them for generations to come. so there is a degree of architectural heritage involved with monuments and memorials. and that is where i wanted to go. human beings do not always remember days, but we do remember events. we do remember occasions. this was an opportunity to make sure that we preserved in memory of an occasion the first world war. in the we convert those occasions in two memories. when i decided that we were going to push ahead in the face of a lot of criticism, we were
able to get a court are sent sales tax, we were able to restore the liberty memorial, and we were also able to build a museum that is something that people everywhere need to see because of what has preserved for years and years to come. commemorating the centennial of world war i as a labor of love for me since i was elected mayor. when i was elected to congress, i decided that this would give me an opportunity to do something that would take the liberty memorial to a new level. so i began to work with the congressman from the border state of kansas. he and i are very good friends from different political parties, and we communicate with each other, except when ku plays
mu. so our relationship was mostly healthy. it remains that way and will remain that way forever. it was because of kevin and ted poe and eleanor holmes norton that we thought it was good to try to establish the national memorial to honor world war i and create a commission tasked with commemorating the war throughout the united states. the 112th congress successfully delivered a bill that established the world war i centennial commission and many of those commissions are here today. now, we have turned our sites on the establishment of a national memorial in our nation's capital.
let me start by thanking the world war i centennial commission for their hard work and for putting together this design competition. it has been a pleasure working alongside them. and i honor the veterans of world war i reaching today's announcement took several years. lots of negotiations, several rewrites of legislation and single-mindedness by all involved for us to get to where we are. as you know, congress doesn't move swiftly and sometimes it does not move at all. but we were able to get movement in congress and we had energetic support from a number of people in congress including both the previous speaker of the house and john boehner who never pause in the support that came from pelosi. we have had the opportunity to get to this point and i think there is a high level of excitement to be here.
during union station's existence, the third-largest union station in the world in my home district of kansas city, it became a focal point in world war i where train traffic peaked with 79,000 trains passing through union station, including 271 trains in one day, perhaps it was the witnessing of americans traveling to the east coast to be deployed to the war, the prop to the citizens of kansas city, to building a memorial, lest the ages forget. it became a world event as the five military leaders of world war i joint calvin coolidge at the dedication in 1921. this is the only time in history that the allied leaders publicly joined together and honored those who have served and died in world war i.
nobody knew at that time that a future president of the united states was in attendance, harry s truman. so, if you can stay with me, i get to washington, and elected to congress, and i discover that harry truman is the only president who was the memorialized in the capital. so i am thinking that something has gone terribly wrong. we have to get harry truman in the capital. now we are working on that process. but we are also trying to make sure that the president who served in world war i, which connected all of this together
receive the proper attention. we are working on both of those in this is the realization of bringing all of that together at one time. as the hope for peace began to fade after the war had ended, it became apparent that this would be the last war. it would be the children of world war i veterans who became the greatest generation because they were called to fight another war -- world war ii. i am thrilled to be here and with some excitement and waiting for the unveiling of the design. i would like to present the person who pushed and pushed. without his push, i am not so sure that we would be here today. that is edward fountain of virginia.
>> thank you congressman cleaver, i appreciate that very much. the commission is very proud to have congressman emanuel cleaver as our most ardent champion, along with his home state senators claire mccaskill and senator blunt, as well as congressman poe from texas and many others. the commission was created by congress in january 2013, and in one of our first meeting's two years ago, we under took the establishment of a national world war i memorial in the nation's capital. and we brought that legislation forward. we have been marching as rapidly as we can done that road. we are here today to announce the select and design concept for the memorial.
i will talk a bit more about that in a moment. the question is why a war memorial, why one now, wasn't the war 100 years ago, aren't those veterans gone? this is a fairly unique project. the memorials we had in korea and vietnam were all built with the strong leadership and support of veterans of those wars while those generations were still with us. before 1982, we did not think in terms of national war memorial's. washington, of course, abounds with circles, squares, and parks honoring military leaders from conflicts throughout our history. the focus is on the leaders, not
the soldiers. there is in this country a proud tradition of local memorials from the civil war to world war i. those memorials are very much hidden in plain sight. people drive by on their daily business and pay little regard to. >> this was conceived as a memorial to all the nations veterans and we are proud to have that as a co-national memorial. beginning with the vietnam memorial, that was our first national war memorial in washington and we have been working backward.
we added korea in 1995, and in 2000, world war ii. the primary mission of our commission is education. we touched on the role that world war i played on the history of this nation and the very act of establishing a national memorial will raise awareness of the centennial we are currently in and inspire americans to learn more about world war i and how it shapes the world we live in today. our hope and expectation is that a national memorial will inspire people. it has always been my thought that some high school kid would come to washington on a class trip and go to a world war i memorial and say, if there was a world war ii, there must have been a world war i. maybe that is what that memorial bridge, auditorium, spark or bridge is all about.
i will take a closer look at it. that is the educational purpose and the second is commemorative. simply put the commission view is that our soldiers, marines and sailors and for the first time a leaders who fought and died in world war i did so with a same courage and tenacity and to sacrifice shown by the veterans of other wars that have a place on the national mall. they withstood the inferno of artillery barrage is, went down to the bottom of the sea in their ships, fell from the sky in burning wreckage of airplanes and charged out in trenches across ocean fields and into woods and up hills the enemy had
spent years fortifying. they did so in greater numbers than other wars. 4.7 million american men and women went to war, 116,000 never returned. measured against the's population, that would be the equivalent of 15 million going to serve today and 360,000 fatalities. in vietnam we lost 47,000 men in combat in about eight years of fighting. and world war i we lost 53000 and six months. in 16-week period, in a major battle that ended the war we lost him as his many men in that six weeks as we did in three years in the korean war. the casualty rate for u.s. troops in one or one was half again as high as world war ii.
we lost more men and one month than we have in 14 years of the war on terror. such service and sacrifice at such a scale must be remembered. with memorials in the nation's capital not giving similar recognition to veterans of world war i would send a message that their service and sacrifice was valued less, which would be an injustice. with that mention in my, the support received from congress, authorization to establish a national world war i memorial in person park in pennsylvania avenue in front of the willard hotel one block from the white house. it does lead to the obvious question, why not the national mall. it decrees that the national mall is a substantially completed work of civic art and that there shall that is there shall be no new memorials, monuments or museums on the wall. if there were to ever be an exception to that law i would argue it should be for world war i but the commission decided it would be inappropriate to seek an exemption to a standing law so it turned to what we felt was the next best place, pershing park which has pride and place in the great diagonal connecting
the capital to the white house and the most symbolically important avenue in the country. it is two blocks from the mall with substantial foot traffic along pennsylvania avenue and 15th street and is already the site of a memorial to general pershing. with the site chosen we turned to the design process itself. we studied other monuments that had been built in washington in consulted participants in a variety of different design processes. we chose to follow a process with five key characteristics. first would be a two-stage competition. we would make an open call for entries and suggest a small group to advance to the second round. the second is the competition was open not limited to invited group or licensed professionals and was open to all comers, students, amateurs, and professionals alike. the fourth would be anonymous so
that the selection of the finalist would not be influenced by their identity. and fifth, in the initial stages it would be independent. the commission appointed an independent jury of experts and gave them authority to select the five finalists that would go to the second round. i would commend you on our website the names and biographies of those jurors. but if not all 7, 6 of the seven have strong ties to washington which we felt was also a significant characteristic in their appointment. in july, the jury selected five finalists and those moved forward into a stage two. i also wanted to say a word about our petition managers. the commission retained john, stephanie, and roger lewis. john literally wrote the book on architectural design competitions and has managed for
petitions for sites such as the oklahoman city memorial, the flight 93 memorial, the smithsonian, museum of african-american history and culture, and others. roger is known to many of you as a local architect in a long time commentator on architectural planning for the washington post. the jury selected five finalists on an anonymous basis and it turned out all five were american designers. it is worth noting that one of the design teams was headed by two architects originally from spain. given that the immigrants made a vital contribution and world war i, we were pleased it was reflected in the competition. during stage two, the finalists had a series of midcourse
reviews with members of the commission and our competition managers to further refine their designs and to respond to issues and criticisms raised by this memorial project. those issues were generated by what we believe has been it was intended to be one of the most open and transparent design competitions ever held for a public place in washington. it's not simply a matter of the centennial commission choosing a design and building it but rather it reflects the fact that the design of memorials on federal land in washington subject to review and approval by a number of different agencies, the national park service the commissioner of fine arts and the district historic reservation office. any design must also go through public review process is under environmental protection act. for these reasons it will be important to exercise and what the commission selected is not the final design but is a design concept and the selection of a team of designers to advance that concept that will undergo significant evolution as it undergoes these approval and review processes.
the commission has thought to consult closely with all the stakeholder agencies as we have gone through this process. we met with them before seeking congressional authorization to identify issues that might arise. we asked them to help frame the design goals for the memorial and to review and comment on a draft of the design manual. we convened a design oversight committee consisting of representative's from those agencies who participated in the midcourse reviews we had with the stage to finalists. we had to review the final commissions and provide comments to the competition jury. while we have dealt so far mainly with staff, we also provided information briefings to the full commissions for those agencies. we also sought out public comment. after the final designs were submit we posted those to the commission website and display
them publicly at the john a wilson building. we again solicited public comment and received another 200 comments. those public processes helped clarify several distinct design challenges facing this particular project. the first challenge is the expected one, how do you come up with an appropriate or more. how do you convey the heroism and the magnitude of that sacrifice and how do you design a memorial that stands with a memorials on the malls in those
located off the mall. in other ways, this has been a far more complex design challenge than those posed by the memorials built on the mall. this memorial honors a generation of servicemen and women who are no longer with us. that raised implications for the intended audience of the memorial. what is the appropriate or inappropriate design style? those are issues the jury spent a long time discussing. a second challenge, and this is one of the most complicated once we have dealt with was the fact that the memorial on the mall had nothing else to do but be a memorial. where is a memorial at persian park has to be a memorial and a living breathing well functioning urban park. pershing park is at an interesting junction of the city. you have the white house grounds and the congress department and the treasury building off to the west and south which link the site to the monumental core of washington in the federal, public space. to the other side you have the hotels and freedom plaza which constitute the city part of washington. persian park in a real way is
the transition between those. in that same sort of way, purging park has to remain both a park for the people who remain in and live in washington and has to be a memorial which takes its place within the monumental core door. and the elements have to come from it each other. we had many designs were the park overwhelmed the memorial over the memorial overwhelmed the park and none were appropriate. we recognize this challenge and embraced it from day one and it is one we continue to focus on. another challenge for this site is that it has to be has to have a sense of seclusion but also be inviting and visible. it surrounded by busy streets and a good design would have to provide to some sort of visual and aural screening from the street traffic and get also not
be so invisible that if you're passing by you have no recognition of what is there. an additional challenge within this site, unlike on the mall where they extend alone, it had to respect and contribute to the urban context of pennsylvania avenue and adjacent sites. as i said it is a peculiar junction of the federal and city parts of washington. there is iconic architecture and design from all around it. the treasury department, the general sherman memorial, the congress department, the wilson building, and freedom plaza directly across from 14th street. different uses with different design styles and a good design for pershing park had to complement and not compete with the surrounding sites. at the same time, he needed to take account of the fact that for the last 50 years, there has been an ongoing transformation
of pennsylvania avenue beginning in the kennedy administration given its biggest impetus by the california development corporation which lay down various design parameters for pennsylvania avenue, one of which was that along the avenue it would be a series of public spaces designed in a contemporary design motif, primarily consisting of plain or open spaces that merged those sites into the city. of particular challenge was dealing with the existing cultural resources at the site and how to first of all how to integrate the existing memorial elements and determining how to defer appropriately to the existing design of the park. that has been an ongoing issue and one that we will continue to work on. the designer submitted their final submissions december 9, they were submitted to the jury in a public meeting january 6. the jury convened january 7 and reached a unanimous decision on the design they would recommend
the commission. the report and recommendation was delivered last week and this morning the commission adopted the jury recommendation by an 8-1 vote. i'm pleased to announce the centennial association has accepted the design concept. the submission by joseph. joe was 25 years old and a 2013 graduate of the school of architecture at the university of arkansas. the nature of the licensing process is such that he is not yet a licensed architect but his selection validates the decision to open this decision to all comers regardless of professional certification. as the project goes forward he will be seeing with architects, an architecture firm based in baltimore that has long experience.
inkling arlington national cemetery as well as the new visitor center at mount vernon. howard of new york, with 30 years of experience, is considered one of the country's leading classical sculptors. he has worked with the late renowned architect michael graves and the new york times said of him, when viewing his work, visitors may have been minded of the time when donatello walked the earth. >> it is the kind of phrase i would like to get some day. so joe after design reconfigures urging park into three distinct places. each of which corresponds in different ways to serve memorial and urban park. to the western side, and upper lawn bordered by maple trees, with a freestanding sculpture, will create a simple contained space reminiscent of the sunken plaza and current park design shielded from the surrounding
city and at the same time open to it that will create an enclave with the potential for quiet contemplation and active recreation. below the upper courtyard to the east, and opening used at freedom plaza is a more urban plaza. the centerpiece will be a large bronze sculptural work executed by relief and i hear the design will accommodate those who come to the site to see the memorial or gatherings from other events as well as those who simply want to have their lunch or enjoy the fresh air. i remind you that the sculptural images shown here are simply design suggestions by the sculptor. they appear here as illustrated images rather than the sculptural form they will ultimately take. these are not necessarily the themes are images that the memorial will openly depict. finally, along the northern edge, along pennsylvania avenue,
along one of the two sloping walls and walkways that connect the lower and upper portions of the site, the design will facilitate additional park enjoyment by hotel guests and office workers in relation to the shops across the streets. with this eloquent design, they have met the various design challenges that i framed. they have created a strong memorial center composed of two distinct elements that can present their own different commemorative themes. a classical cultural style that would've been recognizable in the era of the war will also stand up over time and will also be recognizable 100 years from now. it placed that design in a contemporary landscape design with the public spaces along pennsylvania avenue. it creates a variety of open spaces paved, and green, that will host a variety of uses.
by simultaneously opening under 14th and 15th streets, the site will interact with the surrounding urban context more effectively than the current design. at the same time, it does retain significant features of the park design by operating in two separate spaces at separate levels with a plane or toggle design approach while improving accessibility, visibility and solving the main defect by making it more accessible and more visible by providing more connections to the surrounding streets. i said this was step one, selection of a design concept. we anticipate spending the next several months working closely with the designers to refine the design and perhaps to look at
variations on it. and ultimately to submit it to the commission of fine arts and the national capital planning commission for initial concept review and approval this year. we will also begin fundraising in earnest, through the generosity of the museum and library, sandra pershing, and others. we have completed step one and we look forward to the challenges that will be raised in the succeeding steps of this process. i will be happy to entertain your questions. >> can you say what kind of deadline you are working on? also, do you have an estimate of how much it will cost? >> there is not a hard deadline. in an ideal world, we would take it vantage of some of the symbolically important dates ahead of us and dedicate this on armistice day and veterans day which would be the hundred year anniversary of the end of the war.
our goal is to have the design concept approved by the end of this year or early next year and to break ground by the end of 2017. that is ambitious but we will hold to that schedule until we can't. in terms of budget, that was the last challenge that we had if you look at the finalists were always more complex and are elaborate than others. we have tried to be realistic about what can be raised and what is appropriate to the site. we think the site does call for a more elegant design which would hopefully translate to a less expensive one. there is not a hard budget figure, i would hate to be accused of going over budget but we are looking at the $30 million-$40 million range. >> are the europeans involved? are they going to help out?
is it big news in europe? >> we certainly kept our counterpart commissions in europe informed as to what the commissions overall plans are, -- when we think about fundraising, we think in terms of european companies doing business in the united states. to this day there is tremendous gratitude in belgium in northern france for the role the united states played in world war i as well as world war ii and we certainly hope to tap into that sentiment. >> with the washington post. you stressed the compatibility of this new design with the existing one and terms of it being two different squares. did that enter into the choice since this is in some sense a
compromise design? >> i would not call it a compromise. certainly one of the purposes of consulting with the public review agencies as we have gone along is to raise the issues that we will have to deal with as we move this process forward and move this design concept forward. we have been alert to some of the preservation concerns that might be raised. we passed those along to the jury and the commission. the jury felt very strongly that it should pick the best design. i think many of the -- there are a lot of complementary objectives because ultimate leave the site does benefit from a more simpler, more restrained approach. there are good elements in the existing site, it is interesting that mr. white sure himself
said, it is a good park with one major flaw which is that it has a depressed area in the center that may have made sense 25 years ago when washington looked different than it does today, but that it goes against most contemporary design principles which are to have a public space like this open out to the surrounding site. a lot of what makes this a good design and incorporates elements made the best selection. i would not call it a compromise. their complement or he in purposes. >> from the chicago tribune have read the 116,000 word that is
commemorated somehow in terms of the cubic feet and the identical number of square cubic feet but i'm hard-pressed to find out the area that the park matches. >> might understanding is they calculated the volume of the earth within the upper plaza, i think that is where they arrived at the number. >> frank lockwood, what can you tell me about the winner and the qualities he brings and what impressed you about him? >> for someone who i believe was not in washington before he enter that competition i wonder how much he knew about world war i. he certainly studied it since then, he had the great sense to go out and find a great sculptor.
had he not done so, i'm not sure that his design would have advanced. we are the commission. not that this is a factor in the election, but the commission is pleased that someone from his generation will have this prominent a role. our core objective is to raise awareness of world war i along the younger generations of this country who will be around long enough to remember it. we are pleased by that connection. it is a we did not pick the design based on the qualities of the designer. but it is interesting that he saw through to a solution that was in its simplicity showing some complex thinking. >> tony fowler, interested observer.
is there a plan by the commission to carry on in terms of awareness raising and education once the work is done, of the park itself? will there be a website that teachers can use to promote information about world war i or to use classroom materials and things like that? >> we have not focused on that yet. our commission sunsets in 2019, except for the extent that we are still working on the memorial. that kind of perpetuity obviously requires time and people to keep it going. we are working on a number of projects that will tie in a variety of information sources related to veterans of the war and i would imagine that this can be a part of that.
matt naylor, one of our commissioners is executive director of the national world war one memorial in kansas city and they carry on that mission and our close partner of ours. i just heard matt volunteer -- to take on the grass mowing and leaf raking for years to come. the world war i museum in kansas city has the ongoing mission of maintaining the memorial. >> that is worldwar.org? >> i think that is it. myself and the other commissioners are certainly available afterwards for additional questions. congressman cleaver, i owe a huge personal debt to you. thank you for your support and thank you for coming.
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