WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Frank Buckles was the last surviving veteran of World War I, reaching an age of 110 before he died in 2011.
In his later years, he hoped to see a national war memorial commemorating those who served in WWI, like him. He even lobbied for lawmakers to make an existing monument honoring Washington D.C. WWI soldiers into the National World War I Memorial, before trying to build a memorial in its own right on the National Mall, according to the National WWI Memorial Foundation, which he created.
Now, his dream is finally becoming a reality.
The United States World War I Memorial Commission is raising money for a 60-foot bronze wall sculpture, with 38 figures showing a soldier’s progression from home to the war zone and back.
“We want to connect people to the stories of those who served in WWI,” said Joseph Weishaar, the project’s architect. According to the project website, more than 4.7 million men and women served in uniform during WWI.
The project still needs $15 million, but is hoping to break ground in the fall and finish by November 2021.
World War II soldiers didn’t have a monument recognizing their service in the nation’s capital until 2004.