Winning design concept for the National World War I Memorial unveiled


The nation’s capital will finally receive a national memorial dedicated to the Servicemembers who fought in “The Great War.” The U.S. World War I Centennial Commission selected the design team of Joe Weishaar & Sabin Howard and their design concept “The Weight of Sacrifice” for the National WWI Memorial at Pershing Park.

The-Weight-Of-Sacrifice-aerial-webThe design features distinct spaces that serve as both a memorial and an urban park. It includes an upper lawn bordered by maple trees with a freestanding sculpture, a sunken plaza that acts as a shield from the surrounding area for quiet contemplation, a 137-foot long “Wall of Remembrance” with quotations from the war, and the “Wheels of Humanity” sculpture on the upper plaza that recreates the engine of the war.

“Those five million Americans who served in uniform during World War I literally changed the world. This new landmark in our nation’s capital will be a worthy expression of their great legacy,” said Robert Dalessandro, chair, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission.

In 2014, Congress authorized the World War I Centennial Commission to create a national World War I memorial in Washington, D.C., and designated Pershing Park as the site for the memorial. Pershing Park is located one block from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, adjacent to the Willard Hotel and the District of Columbia’s Wilson Building.

“Today is an important day for me and my family, and it is an important day for our country as we work together to honor the almost five million Americans who served during the Great War,” said Sandra Pershing, granddaughter-in-law of Gen. John Pershing.

Last spring, the commission launched an international design competition, seeking concepts for the national memorial. After receiving more than 360 submissions in Stage I of the competition, an independent jury of design professionals and historians selected five of the design concepts to advance to Stage II.

unveilingThe five design teams consulted with representatives from the Commission, the National Park Service, the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, the National Capital Planning Commission and other stakeholders to develop and refine their design concepts.

“We were thrilled by the work quality and creativity from all the participants in this competition. This selected design concept reflects a high level of professional achievement,” said Edwin Fountain, vice chair, U.S. World War I Centennial Commission and lead on the World War I Memorial project.

From here, the commission will spend the next several months with the designers to refine the design and will submit it to the National Capital Planning Commission for final approval.

Click here to explore the winning design concept or watch the video below on the five finalists and the selection process.


Melissa Heintz

Melissa Heintz joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2015 and currently works as the National Veterans Day Coordinator, National Veterans Outreach. She grew up on an Army base in Japan before her family relocated to Hawaii. She holds a degree in Journalism/Mass Communications and Spanish from Seattle University. Melissa has served as a public affairs specialist with Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In December 2015, Melissa commissioned in the Air National Guard where she serves as a public affairs officer with the 113th Wing, D.C. Air National Guard.


  1. Helen Dickinson    

    I’m very BLESSED & pleased to see more beautiful Memorial’s for our Veterans! I am also very BLESSED to have many of my family members remembered that fought for our country’s freedoms! My father, Earl Eugene Bossom, not only fought in WWI, but also, in WWII! He was in the Navy. I was too young to know anymore information than that. He was a very awesome, kind & gentle man. He took very good care of my Mother, Helen Ray Bossom & me. He was ALWAYS polite & helped others. He passed away serving in another form of duty & a much Higher calling in The Salvation Army Church, Hampden Corps, Baltimore, MD. I am one if many that are very greatful & honored to have known/know these very special people! “Some gave all, ALL gave some!”

  2. Noel James Dupont    

    This is beautiful…my grandfather was a Veteran of WWI he served as a horse master, returned to home lived out his life farming and logging trees in Northern, Minnesota. He was laid to rest at the VA cemetery at Fort Snelling National Cemetery. I have several personal items including his service medallion, his patch and original post cards. It is quite a remarkable display. This is the first time that a memorial of this magnitude has been proposed. I would be honored to include my Grandfathers items to the memorial if needed. Arthur Dupont is his name. I have a hand written note that list all those who served under him.
    Respectfully Noel Dupont

  3. Ricky    

    Our Democracy has a framework. One that’s provided for us and what we pull through the zone through choice. I’m glad when we have that more often now. I know Vet will have more dollars per capita than the 5 million men of World War I for stupid claims and things. A CUE on Germany for sure 😐 Ouch!!

  4. Elijah Peterson    

    I’m a retired vet and the medical treatment that I receive at the fayettville clinic is terrible. Many attempts to get a new PCM. Just get the run around. Maybe it’s time to shutdown VA medical clinics so vet can be able to get better patient care.

  5. conrad J kraus    

    My wife Jennie and I rebuilt two World War I, 13′ monuments at the Philadelphia, Montgomery County line along route 232 in Pennsylvania pro bono. VIEW THEM ON MY WEB They are now protected monuments in 2015 by the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Historic Societies. They were built and dedicated on November 11 1921 at a Veterans Day parade in center city. They were built to honor the veterans from the Rockledge Borough Montgomery County and Fox Chase section of the City of Philadelphia who served in the Great War. They were built by an organization that filled a void after the American Red Cross went out of business here in Pennsylvania. The organization is called the “Emergency Aid Committee” which started here in Philadelphia and spread all over the state of Pennsylvania.A documentary was produced and viewed on the state television channel describing how the war started and how it effected our state at the beginning of the war. These monuments will hopefully get recognition in another documentary, concerning Pennsylvania’s effort during at at the end of the Great War. We rebuilt them and rededicated them November 11 2008. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, and the Officers of the Emergency Aid Foundation still existing, were in attendance. People who serve the nation deserve to be recognized publicly.

    Conrad J. Kraus Past Commander
    Corporal Loudenslager American Legion Post 366

  6. PaulBrooks    

    What an overdue and fitting memorial. The greatness of our country is due to the sacrifices of those participants in WW I. Not all were American. My grandfather, working in America at the onset of the war, enlisted and fought in a Coastal Artillery unit in France, returning to America and getting his citizenship papers after he was mustered out in California. He then returned to Michigan, resumed his former job at Buick Motor Coach and married the girl that became my grandmother. Great memorial!

  7. Alejandro ramirez    

    If I am retired can I still transfer my Gi bill to dependents

  8. Lisa Champ Paluck    

    All the memorials in D.C. touch my soul.

  9. DALE J. SMITH    

    Still Awaiting A National, “Cold War Era,” Memorial.

  10. Helen Anderson Glass    

    Great tribute to those 5 million who deserve this honor including my dad and uncle- A WW2WAVE veteran.

  11. Helen Anderson Glass    

    It’s about time-wish I could be there to honor my dad Pvt 76th Field Artillery 3rd Division – like Norman Swarztkopf -almost 100 years- looks like a beautiful tribute to the 5 million who served. . A U.S. Navy WW2 WAVE veteran

  12. Helen Anderson Glass    

    “It’s about time” and it is about time- that almost 100 years that have “slipped” by? My Dad & my uncle enlisted in Mass. My dad Arthur O. Anderson was a Pvt. in the 76th Field Artillery 3rd Division right up there in those famous battles in LaMarne, Chatteau Thierry. Bellou Woods, and St Mihele??where Norman Swartzkoff served. Dad was gassed, wounded and suffered from shell shock all his life. I wish I could be there- My brother also- but he was KIA 9/11/43 on the USS Savannah at Salerno, Italy.It looks like a beautiful tribute to all those who served and are by now all gone? that old seaHAG from AZ-
    US Navy WW2

  13. Patrick jahnke    

    ????? I’m a disable veteran 100%, my land lord is trying to evict me from my apartment, I live in wis . I talk to. Lawyers state of wis, landlord had a paper drop off, under state wis filed smalls claims, he told me he does not have too. Who can help me to to give me 4 months I move out but not in winter. Until he wait longer to filed small claims I staying, cops can not do nothing until a court hearing is done.

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