I didn’t know the Great War when I began this journey, but now that I’ve passed through it's trenches we shall forever be entwined. To everyone who visits this memorial: I ask you to read their stories and see their faces and be reminded just how similar we still are. We are our own masters of destruction and creators of peace. I hope this place forever stands as a marker of the terrible wounds humanity can inflict upon itself and serves as a reminder that we are forever in need of good people to help us along the way.
The Memorial represents the sacredness and value of human life. ‘A Soldier’s Journey’ is an allegory that explains the transformation of the world through WWI by way of one man’s voyage through the hell of trench warfare to a bittersweet return home. It is a great honor to memorialize our veterans and serve my country through this Art.
Working on this project has provided me with a much deeper understanding of the impact and significance of World War I. It was the goal of the design team to ensure that visitors to the Memorial could also gain a deeper understanding of the war and interact on a personal level with the sculpture, A Soldier’s Journey, as well as other interpretative elements on the site. The Memorial’s design was inspired by and communicates the weight, gravity, and significance of the war and sacrifices made by soldiers and civilians who had to endure the devastating results of the world’s first fully mechanized war. We are so proud to have been involved in this important project to honor the sacrifices of those who served in our continued search for peace.
The team at Land Collective is most proud of our capacity to envision and realize this National memorial in our nation’s capital. It has been an extraordinary transformation that not only revivified an important, modernist park, but brought back to life the memories of those who served in a global conflict that reshaped the modern world. Most singularly in our pride is the rewarding collaboration between the World War I Centennial Commission and the design team; the collaboration within the team itself – Joe Weishaar, GWWO Architects, Grunley, and others; and the negotiations and realization of a vision that meets the needs of all agencies with oversight. Within that recognition is an appreciation for the veterans and general public for which this memorial will bring to the present moment the impactful events and sacrifices of those who served so long ago. It is a deep awakening.
We at Grunley are extremely proud to play a role in delivering this important memorial to the people of the United States of America. It is long overdue that the sacrifices of those who defended our nation in World War I are commemorated.