WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (KUNA) -- After a long wait, a Gulf War memorial site has been designated in the heart of Washington DC at a ceremony on Tuesday in synchronization with the celebrations marking Kuwait's 58th National Day and 28th Liberation Day.
Top dignitaries and Gulf War veterans attended the ceremony that was held in dedication of the "National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial Site," including former vice president and former secretary of defense Dick Cheney (1989-1993), Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Congressman Phil Roe and former US ambassador to Kuwait in 1991 Edward "Skip" Gnehm.
The ceremony was held at the site where a memorial will be built "celebrating the victory while honoring the sacrifices of Coalition and United States Armed Forces," and to honor and remember "the historic significance" of the Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield and those who served it.
In remarks at the ceremony, Cheney stressed that Desert Storm was a "vital mission accepted for the best of reasons." "When lines are drawn in matters of defense and foreign policy, when clear principals are laid down at the outset they have to defended or else all kinds of trouble will follow," he remarked.
He noted "a dictator (Saddam Hussein) thought he could seize a neighboring country and get away with it. We had to show him that the world doesn't work that way anymore and we did." He added "as a country, we got another thing right in 1991 and this spirit I am happy to say has never left us since, our troops were welcomed home with the gratitude and the respect they had earned." He affirmed that "this memorial, when the work is done, will complete the picture of Desert Storm as we rightly remember it, capturing the pride we should always feel." For his part, Sheikh Salem said in his remarks that the "momentous war changed us in Kuwait. We came to realize who our true friends are." He added that over 29 years, Kuwait and the US have shared "a strong and lasting bond of friendship and loyalty that continues to this day." "This memorial will stand as a testament to friendships, shared values, shared sacrifice and the importance of upholding shared international commitments to peace and security," he stressed. "And a reminder of the courage of the American people and their willingness to always stand with what is just." In his remarks, Gnehm stressed that "many Americans, many Kuwaitis and many nationals of countries that participated in Kuwait's liberation do not know how virtually the entire international community under American leadership came together in just cause to fight aggression to liberate occupied Kuwait and to free its people." "Today, we need to tell the world that we must never forget what Desert Storm and Desert Shield achieved. This memorial will stand as an affirmation of our commitment to a higher cause that we must never forget," he remarked.
President and CEO of National Desert Storm War Memorial Association Scott Stump affirmed that this memorial "although remembering our fallen is of utmost importance, this will not be a place of mourning." "Instead, the efforts and achievement of Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield will be remembered and celebrated through the memorial." The memorial is being built at a prime site in the nation's capital, as it is located very close to two of the most significant and visited memorials in the country, which are the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial that have over 12 million visitors yearly. (end) si.gb