American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial unveiled

Logo of star and flame representing the Veterans Disabled for LifeThe first memorial dedicated to the nation’s four million veterans with disabilities is open to the public.

The new American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial consists of a large triangular reflecting pool with a star shaped fountain at its focal point, meant to “convey the interplay of strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal,” as described by the memorial’s foundation in a news release from March.

President Obama and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert A. McDonald spoke at a dedication ceremony to the memorial, which is located near the U.S. Capital, on October 5. It opened to the public the next day.

“With this memorial we commemorate, for the first time, the two battles our disabled veterans have fought — the battle over there, and the battle here at home — your battle to recover, which at times can be even harder, and certainly as longer,” President Obama said in his remarks. “You walk these quiet grounds — pause by the pictures of these men and women, you look into their eyes, read their words — and we’re somehow able to join them on a journey that speaks to the endurance of the American spirit.

“And to you, our veterans and wounded warriors, we thank you for sharing your journey with us.”

The panel was a long time coming. Congress unanimously passed a bill, signed by then-President Bill Clinton, approving funding for the memorial in 2000.

A video from USA Today about the memorial can be seen here.