Kent Levy Court pledges support for National Desert Storm Memorial in DC

DOVER — Kent County Levy Court commissioners pledged their intention to support the planned National Desert Storm Memorial in Washington D.C. after being approached by a local advocate at their Tuesday meeting.

Although no specific funding commitments were made, commissioners heard a project presentation by Kent County resident and Desert Storm veteran Robert Roth.

Mr. Roth has been tasked by the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association to help raise awareness and support for the project in Delaware.

The memorial is currently in the planning stages, but the association is targeting a completion date of Memorial Day 2021. In March, President Trump signed a bill authorizing the memorial to be built near the National Mall in D.C. The final plans must still be approved by the National Park Service.

The proposed memorial would be designed in the shape of a “left hook” swirl shape to pay tribute to a strategic maneuver used during the conflict that allegedly shortened it and saved many American and coalition lives.

More than 600,000 Americans reportedly served in Desert Storm, with an estimated 300 servicemen and women deaths.

Mr. Roth said that a memorial would be important and meaningful to many veterans who’ve continued to suffer after the war. As part of a U.S. Air Force mortuary unit he says the war exposed him to very trying circumstances.

“We had to do a lot of mortuary cleanup after the war and many of us were really affected psychologically by what we saw over there,” he said during the presentation. “A few of the people I served with took their own lives, I was almost one of them.”

Mr. Roth noted the project doesn’t have a projected price tag yet, but the association has floated an estimate of around $45 million.

Commissioners agreed to discuss a cash donation or fundraising support as Mr. Roth’s efforts grow.

Advocates like Mr. Roth are fanning out across the county to stir up interest in the project because although it was approved by Congress and the president, the memorial will be built entirely through private donations.

Mr. Roth said that Levy Court has been the first public entity that’s agreed to meet with him and he’s most interested in spreading the word about the project and attracting other veterans and well-wishers to the cause of establishing it.

Anyone interested in volunteering, contributing or lending their support can visit ndswm.org or follow the associaiton on Facebook, Twitter (@DesertStormMeml) or Instagram (#NDSWM). The association can also be reached at (855) 916-3796.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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