WASHINGTON, July 14 (KUNA) -- Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah participated on Thursday at the groundbreaking ceremony held for the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial at the National Mall that will stand as an everlasting symbol and token of gratitude to the soldiers who helped to liberate Kuwait.
In remarks at the ceremony, Kuwait's Ambassador to the US Sheikh Salem Al-Sabah said "today we come together to celebrate the launch of a long awaited and a very special memorial." "This magnificent project carries a lot of significance and will mean different things to different people, but for us in Kuwait, it will reflect not only our gratitude, but the depths of the true friendship and alliance that exist between our two countries," he added. "It is a concrete testament to our ironclad partnership, forged and solidified 31 years ago by blood, sweat, and tears." He continued "as the Ambassador of Kuwait to the United States of America for the past 21 years, I have taken much pride in the part I have played to enhance and solidify this very strong alliance that exists between our two countries - It has been my life's work." "This solemn memorial is a tribute to our shared beliefs in justice, courage, honor, sacrifice, friendship, and peace. Hence, it was to showcase the above that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah and His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad Al Sabah decided that Kuwait should fully finance the construction of this memorial," he remarked.
He stressed that "while a monument can never fully encapsulate the depths of our indebtedness to this great nation, we nonetheless eagerly await its completion in this great capital in 2024, where it will rightfully stand among the other memorials to sacrifice, alliance, and peace." He noted "it will tell the story of the brave and righteous men and women who gave their lives to save others - it will remain a symbol of bravery and cooperation today and for decades to come." "From the people of Kuwait to the people of the United States - thank you. Your deed will forever be engraved in the memories of our current and future generations," he remarked.
For his part, Vice Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Christopher Grady said that almost 700,000 US forces were "committed to the liberation of Kuwait and the defense of regional security and stability in the face of Saddam Hussein's tyranny and aggression." "As Americans, we came to the defense of Kuwait with the international rule of order and we did it and we'd do it now," he added.
Grady, who represented the Pentagon at the ceremony, continued that "now after 30 years, the United States can look to Kuwait and see what we still have is a partner committed as ever to maintaining peace and security." He affirmed that "this memorial honors the sacrifice of those service members who made the ultimate price. Champions of our collective military and diplomatic victories in this conflict." "This memorial reflects on our common dedication to defense of not only an American ideal but a truly global ideal," he continued. "National sovereignty should not just be an expectation, should be an ideal worth fighting for, to maintain and to hold dear." "Peace and security should be an enduring expectation for all so I am grateful for the opportunity to honor the veterans and families of their achievement in Desert Storm through today's dedication," he remarked.
Meanwhile, Counselor of the US Department of State, Derek Chollet said in his remarks that this groundbreaking is "an achievement for my friend the Ambassador (Sheikh Salem) who is realizing a dream of his own after two decades of service here in Washington. This monument is also a tribute to you and your profound legacy of strengthening the partnership between the United States and Kuwait." He noted that "when this memorial is complete, young Kuwaitis will come visit and reconnect with and reflect upon America, our partnership together, our people and our place in the world." "Americans will come to learn about those who fought in the conflict and remember this Desert Shield and Desert Storm and our friendship with the country they fought to liberate, "he added. "Veterans will come to remember and reflect on their proud, noble achievement and the sacrifices that they've made." He continued "they will all come together here in this special place to celebrate the moral and physical courage that united the world to stand together against tyranny and to stand together for freedom." He affirmed that "this memorial will remind them of enduring friendship between the United States of America and Kuwait." Kuwait is the the lead financial donor for the construction of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial that is scheduled to open to the public in 2024.
The Memorial's design will commemorate the historical significance of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm while honoring the service and sacrifice of the US and Coalition military personnel who liberated Kuwait from Iraq.