In April 9, 2003, Staff Sgt. Nick Popaditch of the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Regiment, smokes a cigar while standing on top of his tank, as he arrives at a main crossroad in downtown Baghdad. A statue of then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is in the background.
Despite roadblocks and an unconventional process, the Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation is pressing ahead with a plan to build the first-ever tribute to veterans of an ongoing conflict on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
“We’re doing something that’s never been done before, building a memorial to a live war,” said retired Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of the foundation and a veteran of nine deployments in his military career.
In the floor debate on the waiver, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, a former Marine captain who deployed twice to Iraq, said, “This conflict will have no end date, no V-E [Victory in Europe] Day, no V-J [Victory in Japan] Day.”