DAV volunteers clean, highlight American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

Event was group's first effort since 2019 due to COVID-19 pandemic




In a positive sign of returning to pre-pandemic normalcy, Disabled American Veterans volunteers met May 22 to clean the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C.

This was the group’s first volunteer cleaning effort since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The volunteers were from DAV Chapter 10 out of Arlington-Fairfax in Virginia. A volunteer said taking care of the memorial for the past several years helps tell the story of disabled Veterans.

“We want to make sure it looks good and at the same time, when we’re cleaning it, we get to read everything, too, all over again,” Marine Veteran Shane Liermann said. “They resonate with many of us being disabled Veterans. We want to make sure that everybody else that’s here gets to see that message as clear as possible.”

Leading the volunteers was Park Ranger James Pierce, volunteer coordinator for the National Park Service’s National Mall. In addition to his official role, Pierce also takes the memorial cleaning personal as a disabled Army Veteran. He spent three years in recovery after an IED attack in Afghanistan.

“The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is a very special memorial since I’m a wounded Veteran,” Pierce said. “To get other service members to come out and realize the duty, the honor and respect we’re giving back to our nation, even though they’ve already given so much, means everything to me.”

DAV Chapter 10 members clean the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 22.

Marine Veteran Shane Liermann, left, and Army Veteran Robert Whaley, volunteers from Disabled American Veterans Chapter 10 out of Arlington-Fairfax in Virginia, clean the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C., May 22.

Liermann, the deputy national legislative director at DAV, said the group takes a personal responsibility caring for the memorial.

“It’s our way of making sure as disabled Veterans, we’re taking care of the memorial,” Liermann said.

Liermann added the memorial is a powerful reminder to those who pass by.

“Here lies the cost of war: a memorial dedicated to men and women who’ve sacrificed so much that they’re living examples of that sacrifice,” he said. “It’s just a testament to Veterans living with something for the rest of their lives that most people don’t understand. It’s a reminder we all have scars.”

About the memorial

Dedicated on October 5, 2014, the memorial features glass panels, granite walls, bronze sculptures, a star fountain and a tree grove. The purpose is to shine a light on service members disabled as a result of military service. The memorial is the first national tribute to disabled Veterans. It pays tribute to the hidden and visible disabilities from all conflicts and all branches of service.

The memorial is just west of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C., at 150 Washington Avenue, SW.

About DAV

DAV’s mission is a single purpose: empowering Veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. Learn more at https://www.dav.org/.

Army Vietnam Veteran Gary Salpini cleans a bench at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Army Veteran Jesse Bendahan cleans a bench at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Author

Adam Stump

Adam Stump is a public affairs specialist with VA’s Digital Media Engagement team. He is a retired Air Force Veteran who served 20 years, including two deployments to Afghanistan for detention operations and special operations.

Comments

  1. Constance Lynne Clark    

    Thank you ALL! Thank you for SHOWING that you care about our Special Needs Veterans!
    This is love-in-action!

  2. Bruce C. Hopkins    

    Come visit where a quarter of a million vets call their final resting place…. Riverside National cemetery, Riverside, Ca. We deck out every site with Old Glory each Memorial weekend.

  3. Michele Mathis    

    Thank you to all my fellow disabled veterans for your service! This is an amazing honor to the veterans living with the scars and wounds invisible and visible. The DAV rocks!

  4. Carla Stevenson    

    Disabled Veteran Spinal cord injury…I understand the everyday hurdles you endured… Continue to push forward soldier…
    Carla

  5. Tracy S Nelson    

    I’m a service-connected disabled Army veteran woman. I want to say thank you to all that had a hand in creating and the up keep of this memorial. My life long pain and suffering goes unnoticed by most. Again a big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!!

  6. James Scott Heine    

    Thank you for taking care of this memorial and for all you do, sticking up for us. BION, I didn’t even know this memorial actually existed. I wasn’t involved in a major war but I do fall under this category.

  7. Richard Franke    

    Some just keep on giving! I salute you all!

  8. Arthur Franklin Hartig    

    It looks like the memorial is VERY NICE!

  9. Arthur Franklin Hartig    

    Are all disable Veterans alive & Dead listed on the memorial? Or does it just list those who have passed away?

    I was determined 100% disability as of December 2020.

  10. James Wallace Lowe    

    I am a 100% veteran from the vietnam era I spent 11 years 3 months and 13 days in the Army. I was in Tanks, I had both of my knees replaced, I have 20% on my back, I lost part of my hearing. I am a life time member of the D. A. V. thank you DAV for making it possible for me to get my 100% disability. James Lowe

  11. Marlene A. Hyde    

    God Bless the DAV and all that they do to honor the memorial! I come from a family with a long history of military service–there’s been a member of my family in a branch of the military every generation since the Revolutionary War! I’m a military veteran myself (US Air Force) and both of my sons have carried on the tradition by serving in the United States Marine Corps. Thank you all again, for all you do to honor those American who’ve sacrificed so that we might remain free! God Bless the DAV!

  12. james gammon    

    It is good to see we are allowed to remember History, and to keep the remembrance up to date.
    –from a DAV, Texas Chapter

  13. Dave Galyen    

    Thank you DAV for the memorial and what it means to Veterans to know we are recognized as a great part in the protection of the Constitution and the freedoms we so enjoy as the greatest nation on earth, the United States of America! I am anxious to see the memorial and reflect on the sacrifices that the men and women of all the military branches have selflessly given and to honor them past, present and the future. God bless America!

  14. Mike Schaeffer    

    Great video. Love hearing about these kinds of efforts, particularly in this polarized time. Nicely done all around.

  15. Theodore L Pietz    

    Thank you to the DAV for taking the time and effort to give a care about our memorial.

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