Twenty-five years ago, more than 600,000 members of the U.S. Armed Forces were deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert Storm.

This massive war effort, America’s first major military engagement since Vietnam, brought together 34 countries led by the United States and its commander-in-chief, President George H.W. Bush. In just 43 days, the U.S.-led coalition secured victory and liberated the Kuwaiti people — but the brevity of Desert Storm belies the permanence of the service and sacrifices made during the war.

Nearly 300 American service members lost their lives in the campaign. The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association is working towards building a monument to their sacrifice and their service. Today, they announced that President George H.W. Bush has joined their cause as Honorary Board Chairman.

“During Operation Desert Storm, our troops served with valor and honor to defend what was right and just. Some lost their lives; others still live today with the wounds suffered in battle. Their sacrifices must not be forgotten,” said former President George H.W. Bush. “As president, there is no more solemn duty than sending men and women to war. I am proud to continue serving those who served under me by joining the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association as Honorary Board Chairman. Generations to come must know the victory these men and women won.”

In 2014, Congress passed legislation and President Barack Obama signed into law approval for the National Desert Storm War Memorial to be built in Washington, DC. Now, the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association must raise the capital — political and financial — to ensure the memorial can be built near other major war memorials on the National Mall.

“As a Desert Storm veteran who proudly saluted President Bush as my commander-in-chief, I could not be more humbled and grateful that the president has joined the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association’s Board as Honorary Chairman,” said Scott Stump, Founder, President and CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. “I can think of no more dogged advocate for our Desert Storm veterans than President Bush. His leadership will surely guide us to mission success.”

January 16, 2016, marked the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association focuses on raising awareness and support for the construction of the memorial with an estimated completion date of 2018. The memorial is currently in the critical phase of selecting a site in the Washington D.C.-area and raising the funds required to build the monument. NDSWM has set a goal of raising $25 million in the 25th anniversary year.

Find out more here.

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