The Gulf War is considered one of the U.S. military’s greatest victories in war history, yet it is still not thought of as worthy of an official 25th anniversary commemoration by the Pentagon.
The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association recently emailed the Defense Department asking if there were any plans in place for this significant anniversary. The Pentagon replied that there were no plans for an official commemoration and suggested that the various branches of the military could always hold ceremonies of their own.
A Defense Department spokesperson, Lt. Col. Thomas Crosson, gave a statement that confirmed the Pentagon’s had no commemoration plans. In the statement he also said, “We certainly have not forgotten the efforts and sacrifices of those who served during the Gulf War.”
But the memorial association’s founding member and president, Scott Stump, believes that the Pentagon views the efforts of the Gulf War veterans as merely a “footnote in history”, and that they are not given the same respect and recognition compared with other war veterans. Stump, 49, from North Carolina, said that he started the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association five years ago, after he realised that his children had no idea what Desert Storm was.
The Persian Gulf War lasted less than two months, but in that short time the U.S. military and international coalition forces succeeded in the liberation of Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces. Over 600,000 troops were deployed and there were approximately 300 U.S. casualties. It was deemed to be a brilliant campaign and a military and diplomatic triumph for America.
There have been memorial services for Gulf War veterans, but these have been individually scheduled and organised by separate veterans associations. Stump wants the Pentagon to recognise that there is a need for one overall official national commemoration that should include all veterans who served in the Gulf War, regardless of which unit they served in.
Surprisingly, Stump recently received an invitation to a commemoration ceremony which was to be hosted, not by Washington, but by the Canadian Armed Forces.
“You have a country that had 4,000 troops on the ground inviting an American like me to their commemoration, yet our country is not doing anything,” Stump noted.
Canada’s 25th anniversary event was held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. Stump was delighted to attend what turned out to be only one out of seven commemoration events that have been organised for this special anniversary year by the Canadian Armed Forces.
The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association has obtained preliminary approval to build a memorial near the Mall in the nation’s capital. However, their battle for an official Gulf War commemoration continues.