Kuwait has pledged $10 million to help build the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial, The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association (NDSWM) announced on Monday.
According to the announcement, the memorial’s design will be to commemorate the historical significance of the 1991 operation to free the people of Kuwait from Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, and honor the lives of the servicemen involved.
Kuwait’s ambassador, Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al Sabah, said the memorial will embody and eternalize the strong relationship between the the United States and Kuwait, a point echoed by the NDSWM CEO.
“This lead donation by the Government of Kuwait is an important validation of the historical importance of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, and is a display of the deep, special, and lasting friendship between our two countries. We are honored and humbled by this tremendous show of support,” said the CEO and President of NDSWM, Scott Stump.
The NDSWM, which is a non-profit run by veterans, has been working to construct the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial since 2011.
President Barack Obama signed the memorial’s enabling legislation into law in December 2014. President Donald Trump signed a law authorizing the memorial to be built near the National Mall in Washington, D.C. It was decided to be placed near the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial in June 2018. The memorial is expected to be completed by Veteran’s Day 2021.
Unlike the Vietnam Memorial, the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial will not include all the names of the servicemen who died in the operations, which the NDSWM says is one of the most common questions they receive.
According to the NDSWM, they chose not to include the names because they “would be forced to only include the names of those lost during the specific dates as specified in the enabling legislation. Our great concern is that this limitation would omit the names of so many of our comrades who were lost outside of the parameters.”
The organization added that it believes “the historic significance of this conflict should not be measured in terms of casualties by listing specific names.”
The design of the memorial was unveiled to the public on December 5, 2019.
Hussein annexed Kuwait on August 2, 1990. The annexation set off a chain of events that have affected the United States current military presence in the Middle East. Just a few days later, the United States launched Operation Desert Shield by deploying U.S. military personnel to Saudi Arabia.
Hussein refused to abide by the United Nation’s Resolution 678 by refusing to withdraw his forces from Kuwait by the January 15, 1991 deadline.
On January 16, 1991, the United States, along with an international coalition of 34 countries, Operation Desert Storm was launched. By February 28, 2991, just four days after launching ground forces, allied forces won in a decisive victory.
More than 1,000 Kuwaiti civilians and 148 U.S. servicemen lost their lives in the conflict.