FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - NOVEMBER 8, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — David DeJonge has returned to Washington, DC, and this time he and his team have another big task at hand. DeJonge will be in DC from November 8-11, 2017, to begin his campaign for a Memorial to be placed on the National Mall to honor WW1 soldiers.
The National Mall is a historic place, and it was here that America's planning headquarters for WWI was located. With the former Main Navy and Munitions Buildings located directly over Constitution Gardens, this should, according to legal opinion, qualify it for the Antiquities Act of 1906. DeJonge will thus urge President Trump to act on this basis and honor the WW1 soldiers and their families.
David DeJonge is the photographer who documented the last WWI survivors, and ultimately became the spokesman for the last WWI Veteran Frank Woodruff Buckles. It was Buckles who, at the base of the DC WWI Memorial on March 6, 2008, asked DeJonge to fight for a memorial on the National Mall.
"The initial fight by Buckles, myself and the WWI Memorial Foundation board continued until 2015. The WWI Centennial Commission took over and passed their law to put the Memorial in Pershing Park, part of the massive as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, at a 30 minute walk from the other war Memorials on the National Mall," DeJonge said.
Pershing Park, located downtown DC is an isolated urban park surrounded by five lanes of traffic. The park is protected under the National Register of Historic Places, and essentially cannot be changed. As a result, the Memorial has continued to be reduced, now slated for the bottom of the old ice rink in the area of the garage door where the Zamboni was parked for the ice rink.
"Initially I had some optimism about Pershing Park. But after it continued to get restricted, and the latest proposal is to put it below the berms (that cannot be moved or changed), essentially 15 feet below eye level, I decided to again get involved. I never thought this location could get any worse, but it is about as poor a location as the Metro stop at Foggy Bottom," said DeJonge.
"I have some options to get this before the President, and I will. If it does not happen, the entire nation will know this story. It will be told in an upcoming and expanded broadcast of my two part documentary: Pershing's Last Patriot. The nation will know exactly what happened, and who was involved. This is the first time a memorial effort has been documented from the very beginning to its end," said DeJonge.
David DeJonge (pronounced de Young)
President & Founder, WWI Memorial Foundation/WWI Memorial Effort Washington DC
Spokesman for the late Frank Buckles, the last living WWI Veteran
Washington, DC: 202-670-4407
Cell/ talk/ text: 616-540-4922
Contact: David DeJonge, President, WWI Memorial Foundation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - OCTOBER 26, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC — After a ten-year fight ,the commission tasked with honoring the legacy of WWI has decided to place the veterans' memorial in the place of a former garage door, located in the bottom of an ice rink, 20 feet below ground. This location, named Pershing Park, is a protected landmark under the National Register of Historic Places and cannot be changed.
As a result of its protected status, all the efforts of the WWI Centennial Commission have been reduced and constricted.
Initially, entrants into the WWI Memorial design competition were instructed to bulldoze Pershing Park and start afresh. All of these submitted plans from hundreds of architects, and the winner selected, were made void under the park's protected status.
After more meetings with the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts, the memorial to the First World War been minimized and reduced until now, it is to be placed at the bottom of the former ice rink. This lackluster memorial concept, if built, would be literally overlooked by the public and altogether missed.
The WWI Centennial Commission says it will refill the pond and add a flagpole on the corner.
"I started this effort with the last WWI veteran, Frank Buckles, in 2007, and what has occurred is absolutely unacceptable. We are talking about honoring nearly five million veterans. Five million! 116,561 gave their lives as the ultimate sacrifice of our nation," David DeJonge, founder of the WWI Memorial effort in DC, said.
On November 8, 2017, the WWI Memorial Foundation will announce its full plan for resuming its fight to place the National WWI Memorial on the National Mall, where it ought to be: among the memorials to soldiers of all of America's great wars.
"The WWI Centennial Commissioners were appointed by the top leaders of the nation. Those leaders most likely don't know what has happened—but they will be finding out," DeJonge added.
DeJonge will be in Washington, DC, November 8-11 to announce a full force-war to stop this unacceptable memorial plan and fight for the National Mall.
David DeJonge was the spokesman for the last WWI veteran, Frank Woodruff Buckles, and is the president of the WWI Memorial Foundation. wwimemorial.org